Kimberly Ford Revives Joni Mitchell’s Blue Album April 25
The show starts at 8 p.m. The Linda is located at 339 Central Avenue, Albany, NY 12206. Tickets are $30, general admission; and $40, VIP Preferred Seating.
The concert marks the first East Coast tour by Ford and her seven-piece band, Dreamland. For six years, the group has wowed crowds throughout California and the Southwest with its rocking tribute to the Woodstock generation’s most celebrated singer-songwriter. Standing ovations routinely greet the band following every show with misty-eyed fans singing along to Big Yellow Taxi, Free Man in Paris and, of course, Woodstock. Other shows on this tour include The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and My Father’s Place at the Roslyn Hotel, Roslyn, N.Y.
“No singer on the West Coast is paying more scrupulous attention to Mitchell’s wondrous book than Santa Barbara’s Kimberly Ford,” writes Andy Gilbert in Santa Cruz’s Good Times, noting her “bright and flexible soprano that effortlessly rises into Mitchell’s upper range.”
Not content to be a paint-by-numbers tribute band, Dreamland imbues Mitchell’s songbook with new passion and ideas. The band, modeled on Mitchell’s mid-1970s tenure with Tom Scott and the L.A. Express, features George Friedenthal on keyboards, piano and melodica (Kenny Loggins); Lee Rollag, guitar and violin (Roger Miller); Tom Buckner, saxophone (Grant Geissman); Sven Holcomb, backup vocals, guitars and percussion (Jeff Bridges, Shaun Cassidy); Tom Etchart, bass (Dianne Reeves); and Tom Lackner, drums (Jeff Bridges).
Ford will sing the Blue album at all her 2020 and 2021 shows, partly to mark the album’s upcoming 50th Anniversary on June 22, 2021. Widely considered Mitchell’s masterpiece, the 1971 album was daring in its soul-baring tales of relationship triumphs and failures with tunes about ex-lovers, like Graham Nash and James Taylor. It catapulted Joni overnight from cult folkie to international icon. The album sits on numerous “Best Of” lists and topped NPR’s 150 Greatest Albums by Women.
More recently, Blue has grabbed the attention of younger artists, such as Brandi Carlile, who performed the entire album at Disney Hall last fall, and vocalist Ellie Goulding, whose rendition of River reached No. 1 on the U.K. charts.
Singing the Blue album is a logical fit for Ford who first heard it as a teen growing up in Fresno, Calif. “Unlike the other singer-songwriter options of the time that were more folk and pop oriented, Joni’s music cut straight to the heart of my experience as a young woman during those tumultuous times,” Ford says. “She mapped the topography of love, loss and reflection better than anything else I was hearing in those early days.”
At the time, Ford was singing light opera, like Gilbert & Sullivan. Hearing Blue redirected her musical compass to Americana and jazz. “It trained me to be fluid with my voice and my emotions simultaneously and to honor the depth of Joni’s poetry or anyone’s poetry and lyrics for that matter,” Ford says.
Ford believes the songs in Blue are timeless. “The lyrics and musical river that Joni takes you down with each piece rings as true for most of us today as it did back when it was first released,” Ford says. “Few musical efforts, especially in the singer-songwriter genre, can hold up over time like Blue has. The complexity of the music and the artistry and depth of the lyrics combined with Joni’s truer-than-true voice make this a piece of great art. I am so thrilled that this work is being recognized as such.”
Tickets available online at www.thelinda.org.