January 30, 2023

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Joni Mitchell, winner of the Gershwin Prize, is honored with a tribute concert

The Library of Congress has awarded Joni Mitchell the 2023 Gerschwin Prize for Popular Song, the New York Times notes. A March 1 tribute concert honoring the Canadian singer-songwriter will be held in Washington, DC and will be broadcast on PBS. It’s not yet known if the elusive artist, who returned to the stage at last year’s Newport Folk Festival and has a show scheduled in Washington state for this June, will perform at the concert.

“Joni Mitchell’s music and artistry have left a distinct mark on American culture and internationally, taking a break from folk music with a distinctive voice whose songs will accompany us forever,” said Carla Hayden, Congressional Librarian, in a statement reported by NPR. “Joni Mitchell’s music has so many artists and music lovers all singing her tunes. We are honored to award the Gershwin Prize to this musical genius.”

“This is a very prestigious award,” Mitchell said. “Thank you for honoring me.”

Amid renewed recognition and her slow return to public life, Mitchell is planning a live album from the Newport Folk Festival set, her first in 22 years. Since suffering a brain aneurysm in 2015, she has had to learn to talk and walk again, and has been playing private “Joni Jams” to aid her recovery, according to friend Brandi Carlile, who organizes the June show at Washington state’s Gorge Amphitheater.

Named after Ira and George Gerschwin, past recipients of the Gerschwin Prize include Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and Willie Nelson.

Read Pitchfork’s recent Sunday review of Hejira, reread “Joni Mitchell: Her Art and Life in 33 Songs,” and see a review of the Newport Folk Festival show below.

Joni Mitchell Still Sings “Both Sides Now”