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Both Sides Now | Joni reimagined

Both Sides Now album cover (Mark Wilkenson)

Both Sides Now | Joni reimagined

The ‘Both Sides Now | Joni reimagined’ album is an homage to the songs of Joni Mitchell. Featuring stellar artists Rumer, Hamish Stuart, Jo Harman, Sarah Jane Morris, Mim Grey and Jana Varga with Stefan Redtenbacher and his collective of top class musicians.

Liner notes

This album was a few years in the making. The journey started with a ‘socially distanced’ and restricted Masterlink Sessions video during lockdown.

Hammond virtuoso Ross Stanley recorded a riveting instrumental version of ‘A Case Of You’ with Mike Sturgis on drums and myself on bass. When Mark Ede, manager of vocalist Jo Harman heard our version he was immediately smitten and suggested recording another version with vocals. This was the first stepping stone of the journey and also led to several conversations with a wide range of artists about the work and artistry of Joni Mitchell.

As it transpired there was a lot of love and respect for her art which has clearly touched and inspired countless of artists and musicians. Hence the quest began to record our own versions by asking artists which Joni songs meant the most to them. We were looking for deep-dive lovers of her music and we believe we found them.

At first we thought that our Joni album would encompass vocal interpretations alongside instrumental offerings. Yet as time marched on it was clear that there was enough creative appetite to produce two records – the one you are holding in your hands and and all-instrumental album called The Colours of Joni’ – perhaps with a jazzier outlook hinting towards Joni’s bands of the 70s.

Although music recording technology has come a long way since Joni recorded her first records in the 60s and nothing seems to be impossible to accomplish with hi-tech equipment today, we opted for a traditional approach when recording these songs. Critically this means that all the artists and musicians were together in the same room conjuring up the sonic landscape, live and unconstrained to achieve the most pure and emotive performances possible. Bar a few ‘overdubs’ (meaning instruments added after recording the band) this is what you’ll hear on this album, very much in line with the overall Masterlink Sessions philosophy, i.e. inviting guests to record and film live in the studio with the band.

Joni Mitchell is an immensely creative artist and we’d like to think that she would approve of how we’ve interpreted her beautiful tunes as well as as finding other Joni Mitchell fiends that are open to a different take on her much beloved repertoire.

(Stefan Redtenbacher, producer)

As someone who represents a number of elite vocalists, some of whom feature on this album, the opportunity to work with band leader and producer Stefan Redtenbacher and his collective of stellar musicians has proved to be a very rewarding and productive partnership in recent years. Apart from being a multi-million streaming act in their own right, Redtenbacher’s Funkestra also act as a studio ‘house’ band in Surrey and a number of excellent collaborations have been produced over that time.

In many ways the creative journey which has led to this album has been the zenith of these endeavours; being both the most challenging but, ultimately, the most rewarding.

Not least because this work creates, in my view, a beautiful marriage between a group of world class international musicians and some truly outstanding, characterful, vocalists who are also artists in their own right. Together they bring a new perspectives to some of the best songwriting in the history of modern music.

It’s a privilege and honour to be a small part of the process of bringing this recording to fruition and also in taking the music into the live show arena. Great songs are open to re-interpretation and they are done so here very much with real love and respect to the spirit of Joni in their re-imaging.

(Mark Ede, BiGiAM Music)

THE ‘WE LOVE JONI’ VIDEO PLAYLIST

You can can watch many of the ‘live in the studio’ Masterlink Sessions performances HERE.

TRACK LIST

1 A Case of You | feat. Jo Harman
2 Amelia | feat. Rumer
3 Both Sides Now | feat. Mike Mayfield
4 Two Grey Rooms | feat. Mim Grey
5 Free Man in Paris | ft. Jana Varga
6 Little Green | feat. Sarah Jane Morris
7 The Circle Game | feat. Hamish Stuart
8 Night Ride Home | feat. Mim Grey
9 Blue | feat. Jo Harman
10 Don’t Interrupt The Sorrow | feat. Rumer
11 River | feat. Mike Mayfield

SONG BY SONG

01 A Case of You (ft. Jo Harman)

“For me to sing someone else’s song successfully, I have to connect with the lyric and who can fail to connect with this, one of the best lyrics in music history. Such vivid, intimate and personal prose which also offers universal resonance to anyone who has ever exposed themselves to the vulnerabilities of love.” (Jo Harman)

‘That’s pretty much perfect.” (Paul Sexton, BBC  Radio 2)

Jo Harman | vocals
Ross Stanley | Hammond organ
Stefan Redtenbacher | bass
Mike Sturgis | drums

Arranged by Stefan Redtenbacher
Vocals recorded by James McMillan at Quiet Money studios

02 Amelia (ft. Rumer)

“So many Joni Mitchell albums are like dear friends so it’s hard to pick one.  I decided to select songs from ‘Hejira’ and ‘Hissing of Summer Lawns’ in particular because these two records have been the most influential for me.“ (Rumer)

Carter Arrington| guitar
Liam Dunachie | Wurlitzer
Joe Glossop | Hammond organ
Doug Harper | drums
Stefan Redtenbacher | bass
Rumer | vocals

Arranged by Rumer & Stefan Redtenbacher

03 Both Sides Now (ft. Mike Mayfield)

“Both Sides Now’ has always held a special place in my heart. The songs speaks to me of ambivalence and a sense of eternal enigma when it comes to matters of life and love. Feelings that certainly echo in the chambers of my own psyche. I tried to approach my interpretation with honesty and I hope that comes across.” (Mike Mayfield)

Mike Mayfield | vocals, piano
Stefan Redtenbacher | acoustic bass guitar
Sarah Brandwood-Spencer | violin
Pete Whitfield | violin, viola
Simon Turner | cello

String arrangement by Pete Whitfield
Piano arrangement by Mike Mayfield

04 Two Grey Rooms (ft. Mim Grey)

“I chose ‘Two Grey Rooms’ as it is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard and lyrically its so poignant to me for various reasons.   Growing up I spent many years writing songs in my bedroom in the attic of my parents house whilst gazing out of the window watching the world go by.  My desert Island song.” (Mim Grey)

Carter Arrington | guitar
Pete Billington | Hammond organ
Mim Grey | vocals
Doug Harper | drums Stefan Redtenbacher | bass

Arrangement by Mim Grey & Stefan Redtenbacher

05 Free Man in Paris (ft. Jana Varga)

“I loved singing and playing ‘Free Man In Paris’ – it’s such a playful song, with interesting rhythmic patterns but still very direct. It’s always a treat to sing to the Funkestra groove!” (Jana Varga)

Jana Varga | vocals & flute
Mike Outram | guitar
Stefan Redtenbacher | bass
Tony Remy | guitar
Ross Stanley | Hammond organ
Mike Sturgis | drums

Arranged by Stefan Redtenbacher

06 Little Green (ft. Sarah Jane Morris)

“Having just written a song about the life of Joni Mitchell, with Tony Remy, for our album ‘The Sisterhood’ and whose album Blue was such an important soundtrack to my life, it was such a gift to have the opportunity to sing ‘Little Green’ with these wonderful musical friends.” (Sarah Jane Morris)

Joe Glossop | Hammond organ
Andrew Kingslow | Wurlitzer piano
Mike Outram | Guitar
Sarah Jame Morris | vocals
Stefan Redtenbacher | bass
Tony Remy | Guitar
Mike Sturgis | Drums

Arrangement by Tony Remy & Stefan Redtenbacher

07 The Circle Game (ft. Hamish Stuart)

“I bought ‘Ladies Of The Canyon’ album back in 1970 which contained the song ‘Circle Game’. I would never have dreamt of covering it back then.  It wasn’t until I heard her reimagined version 32 years later on the orchestral album ‘Travelogue’, with the great arranger Vince Mendoza, that I first contemplated it.  She performed the song  in a lower register which got me thinking about it differently – and as my son was about to turn 20, I related to the lyric in a much closer way and started playing with the chords, trying to build a version that worked for me and taking a kind of Brazilian rhythmic approach.

My version has never been recorded ’til now, though it became a staple of my live show for a long time so it’s very pleasing to revisit it for this album.  It still amazes me that still in her early 20’s, Joni could write such mature, iconic songs as ‘The Circle Game’ and ‘Both Sides Now”. (Hamish Stuart)

Adam Philips | electric guitar
Hamish Stuart | acoustic guitar, vocals
Fabio D’Oliveira | percussion
Ralph Salmins | Drums
Gary Sanctuary | Wurlitzer
Stefan Redtenbacher | bass

Arranged by Hamish Stuart

08 Night Ride Home (ft. Mim Grey)

“I bought the album ‘Night Ride Home’ before a long road trip to Spain many years ago. Hearing the title track track for the first time as I made my way through the Spanish mountains with a full moon above me and Cicada’s outside, is still my most vivid memory of any song in my life.” (Mim Grey)

Carter Arrington | guitar
Pete Billington | Hammond organ
Mim Grey | vocals
Doug Harper | drums
Stefan Redtenbacher | bass

Arranged by Mim Grey & Stefan Redtenbacher

09 Blue (ft. Jo Harman)

“I remember buying ‘Blue’ in my twenties and the unforgettable effect the honesty and the amount of soul bearing had on me. It was like it was giving me permission to be that sincere and candid in my own work, not that I, or anyone, could be hope to be quite that poetic with it, of course.” (Jo Harman)

Carter Arrington | guitar
Emily Francis | Rhodes
Fergus Gerrand | percussion
Jo Harman | vocals
Doug Harper | drums
Stefan Redtenbacher | bass
Peter Whittaker | Hammond

Arranged by Jo Harman & Stefan Redtenbacher

10 Don’t Interrupt the sorrow (ft. Rumer)

“So many Joni Mitchell albums are like dear friends so it’s hard to pick one.  I decided to select songs from ‘Hejira’ and ‘Hissing of Summer Lawns’ in particular because these two records have been the most influential for me “ (Rumer)

Carter Arrington| guitar
Liam Dunachie | Wurlitzer
Joe Glossop | Hammond organ
Doug Harper | drums
Stefan Redtenbacher | bass
Rumer | vocals

Arranged by Rumer & Stefan Redtenbacher

11 River (ft. Mike Mayfield)

“The melancholic theme of ‘River’ has been a theme I’ve often visited in my own music and in getting the chance to perform this song I was able to get a little more inside it than I have done before, it highlighted once again to me that no one has ever quite matched Joni’s ability to say the common thing in an uncommon way.” (Mike Mayfield)

Mike Mayfield | vocals
Anders Olinder | Hammond organ
Mike Outram | guitar
Simon Johnson | guitar
Ross Stanley | piano
Mike Sturgis | drums
Stefan Redtenbacher | bass

Arranged by Stefan Redtenbacher

CREDITS

Recorded and mixed by James Welch at Masterlink Productions, Surrey UK (except where indicated)
Mastered by Tim Debney at Fluid Mastering
All songs written by Joni Mitchell | Crazy Crow Music (ASCAP)
Produced by Stefan Redtenbacher
Joni Mitchell illustration and graphic design by Mark Wilkinson
Released on RSB Records RSB99000

 

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