In a rare interview, Joni Mitchell sat down with Elton John on the latest episode of his Apple Music show Rocket Hour to discuss her storied career and surprise appearance at the Newport Folk Festival in July, which she wants to turn into a live album. It was Mitchell’s first full live stage appearance since 2002, after she took a pause from music due to health issues stemming from a brain aneurysm in 2015.
Mitchell said she didn’t rehearse ahead of that surprise set, where she was joined by Brandi Carlile, Blake Mills, Taylor Goldsmith, Lucius, Wynonna Judd, and Marcus Mumford. “It was very well received, much to my delight,” she said of the performance, adding, “we’re trying to put [it] out.”
John also floated the idea that Mitchell should record new music at her home. “One day I want you to sit in this room, like we’re doing now, but with some recording equipment, I want you to make an album in this room. Like Johnny Cash did with ‘Hurt’ … I’ve been to a lot of places in my life, but this room is one of the most special rooms I’ve ever been to in my whole life,” John said. In response, Mitchell told the host that “we did some background vocals up in the balcony once. That’s the only time we’ve recorded in this room.”
The pair also discussed Mitchell’s passionate feelings on war and the environment, her love for Chuck Berry, and her kinship with Carlile, who has been instrumental in Mitchell’s return to the stage, first at the MusiCares’ Person of the Year tribute to Mitchell on April 1 and then at Newport. The two artists will team up again in June 2023 for a two-night concert event dubbed Echoes Through the Canyon, to be held at Washington’s Gorge Amphitheatre.
Hear John’s complete Rocket Hour interview with Mitchell here.