Category Archives: Music

Joni Mitchell: subverting expectation line by line, word by word and phoneme by phoneme

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the music of Joni Mitchell recently, and I wanted to share an observation. It’s not news that her music is all about subverting expectations — see for example the ubiquitous use of the unresolved suspensions that she terms “chords of inquiry”. Here I want to draw attention to a few places where she makes consecutive parts of her lyrics contradict, or at least reinterpret, each other.

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Recordings from the Mitcheldean pre-Festival concert

Just in case anyone’s brave enough to want to hear our set from Saturday night, I’ve been sent some rather good recordings by David Stephens, who ran the PA. If anything, the recording quality is rather too good, as it’s very unforgiving of my decidedly wobbly pitching. Fiona sounds superb, though.

Here’s our version of Chloe and Silas‘s gorgeous Tax Office Love Song:

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The Mitcheldean pre-Festival concert

Last night, Fiona and I played at the Mitcheldean Folk Festival’s pre-festival evening concert — a twenty-five minute set of eight songs. It went really well.

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Coming up: Mitcheldean pre-Festival concert on Saturday 30 May

Just a brief note for anyone who’s in the area: Fiona and I have a half-hour set this Saturday evening at the pre-Festival warm-up concert for this year’s Mitcheldean Folk Festival. We’re one of eight acts in a line-up running for a total of four hours from 7pm till 11pm. The gig is at the Bespoke Brewery in Mitcheldean which I can tell you from experience has a whole range of excellent beers. It’s a free-entry event.

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Paul Actual McCartney

I’ve waited 30 years for this, but on Saturday 23rd, at the O2 Arena in London, I finally saw Paul McCartney live!

He’s 72 years old — he’ll be 73 in less than a month. Yet he played forty songs.

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So how was the Cinderford Music Festival?

Fiona and I played our set at the Cinderford Music Festival yesterday. We were delighted to do it, in part because it’s so local and we like to support local things. (We live 5 km from Cinderford.)

This isn't us -- it's a band called Vevolution playing at the 2014 festival.

This isn’t us — it’s a band called Vevolution playing at the 2014 festival. I don’t think there are any photos from the 2015 festival yet, and probably none of us in any case.

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I’m playing a half-hour set at the Cinderford Music Festival tomorrow at 1:30pm

I’m playing a half-hour set at the Cinderford Music Festival tomorrow at 1:30pm. Fiona will join me to provide backing vocals and flute. Here’s the blurb as it appears in the festival programme:

Mike Taylor sings and plays songs that people know and love — songs by bands like the Beatles and the Kinks, and songwriters like Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. He describes his voice as “adequate” and his guitar playing as “unobjectionable”. Come and sing along.

Please come and join us if you’re in the area! It’s free entry: all the details are on the Festival’s Facebook page, but the venue is the clubhouse of the Cinderford Football Club, Edge Hill Road, Cinderford, Gloucestershire GL14 2QH.