JoniMitchell.com has posted an advance review of Michelle Mercer’s upcoming book Will You Take Me As I Am: Joni’s Blue Period. Any hesitance about this book just evaporated after reading the site’s reaction to the book. Really looking forward to this.
A taste of the review, in case you need to be convinced to go read it:
We were a little worried that this might be a “making of an album” book centered on Joni’s 1971 album Blue. Thankfully it is not. Michelle Mercer has written a seriously entertaining and imaginatively thoughtful study of Joni Mitchell’s autobiographical songwriting. Mercer’s treatment of what she calls Mitchell’s “Blue Period” encompasses the songwriter’s career from 1970 to 1976. As she tells the story of this Blue Period, Mercer skillfully covers subjects as diverse as Augustine, Beat Buddhism, the songwriting of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and the influence of landscape on music.
The book contains plenty of fresh quotes – this is the first book about Joni and her work to include original interviews with the artist herself. Mercer makes the most of her access to Joni, often quoting her at length on previously unexplored subjects. And though Mercer is not interested in gossip (she’s “more interested in how songwriters make their work personal than in what they get personal about”) she does turn up some revelations: the backstory of the song “Court and Spark;” the identity of “Richard” from the “The Last Time I Saw Richard” (no… it’s not Chuck).
But the real strength of the book is Mercer’s expansive examination of Joni’s autobiographical work. Anyone who’s applied the “confessional songwriter” tag to Joni Mitchell might think differently after Mercer’s careful study of the history of literary confessionalism and personal songwriting.
The book is scheduled for an April release, which will coincide with an interview with the author at JoniMitchell.com. The book is now available to pre-order. Use this link to order through Amazon.com and support JoniMitchell.com.