Following Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell is the second musical heavyweight to be courted successfully by Starbucks' Hear Music label and, again, it feels like an odd alliance, especially given the avowedly noncorporate hankering for the simple life which is threaded lyrically through this album. As well as airing her distaste for the trappings of modern living on "Bad Dreams", Mitchell offers dignified anti-war comments, describing history as "a mass murder mystery" on "Strong and Wrong", and warnings of ecological woe on "This Place". A new version of her classic "Big Yellow Tax"i chimes in with these concerns.
"Shine" presents beautiful melodies, dark lyrics and a sparseness that recalls and even progresses beyond some the artist's most seminal recordings.
Much of the lyrical content reflects Mitchell's social and theological consciousness and her longtime plea for the health of the planet.
Joni's voice, both in the physical and lyrical sense, is as powerful as ever.
Born out of a burst of creative energy, "Shine" is one of three new artistic endeavors launched by Mitchell this year. The first, The Fiddle and the Drum, a ballet based on Mitchell's music, debuted with the Alberta Ballet in Calgary earlier this year with Mitchell serving as co-creator and artistic director.
The second is a politically charged visual art exhibit by Mitchell that will debut in New York in the fall.
Two songs included on "Shine, "If" (based Mitchell's favorite poem by Rudyard Kipling) and "If I Had a Heart", were featured "The Fiddle and The Drum" when it premiered on February 8, 2007.
It was then that The New York Times described Mitchell's "If I Had a Heart" as one of most haunting melodies she has ever written.
The album also contains a joyous reinterpretation of her classic hit song, "Big Yellow Taxi" which was also featured in the ballet.
"Shine is a solemn album, though not morose - even the title track's lengthy prayer for healing manages to summon up a flash of humour.
My favourte tracks are " Shine", "If I Had A Heart" and "Night Of The Iguana".
Brian Blade on Drums, Paulinho Da Costa on Percussion, Larry Klein on bass, Greg Leisz on Pedal Steel, Bob Sheppard on Sax (Alto and Soprano), James D. Taylor on Guitar.