Growing up in Cape Breton, my brothers and I constantly begged my parents to get cable television. Looking back, I’m thankful my folks never gave in because, instead, we all gravitated to music. Listening to LPs on the record player, joining high school garage bands and playing the family piano were all significant parts of my childhood.
My first memory of Joni Mitchel was hearing my mom’s copy of Blue playing on our living room stereo. Those songs were wildly different from anything I’d ever heard. As a pre-teen, Mitchell’s lyrics spoke to emotions I hadn’t yet felt, but somehow, her words pulled me into the experiences she described. Listening to Blue was like fast-forwarding to future love, heartbreak, travel and adventure!
When I got a little older, the first Joni song I covered was “This Flight Tonight.” I loved the excitement and the ringing sound of the open guitar tuning, but I was also intrigued by the many cover versions.
I heard the Nazareth version on our local classic rock station, and something about the two very different takes made an impression. The song is widely loved by Joni fans but is equally impressive when this Scottish band puts their spin on it. The Nazareth version went to #1 in Canada. That a song could exist in so many different forms and still resonate with people fascinated me and helped spark my interest in songwriting.
My mom’s love of Blue played a big role in instilling my love of songwriting, and the album helped inspire me to pursue the path I’m on.