James Taylor, Brandi Carlile, Annie Lennox, Cyndi Lauper & more will perform
Musical artists will join the national library and American leaders to honor music legend Joni Mitchell in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, March 1st, as she is awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song during an all-star tribute concert. The lineup will include performances by James Taylor, Brandi Carlile, Annie Lennox, Herbie Hancock, Cyndi Lauper, Marcus Mumford, Graham Nash, Diana Krall, Angelique Kidjo and Ledisi. The concert is by invitation only.
PBS stations will broadcast the concert — Joni Mitchell: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song — at 9 pm ET on Friday, March 31st and on PBS.org and the PBS App as part of the co-produced Emmy Award-winning music series. It will also be broadcast to US Department of Defense locations around the world via the American Forces Network.
Mitchell will also appear at the Library on Thursday, March 2nd at 7 pm ET as part of the Live at the Library series in conversation with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. The event is open to the public with seating on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Mitchell got her start performing in coffee shops and nightclubs in her native Canada and would go on to become an icon among music makers, setting a new standard marrying music and lyrics. With such songs as “Both Sides, Now,” “Chelsea Morning,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Woodstock” and “The Circle Game,” Mitchell became a household name.
Mitchell redefined the role of women musicians. She oversaw all aspects of her albums, including songwriting, arrangements, performance, production and artwork. Her sound crosses musical genres from folk to jazz, classical and rock, and she continues to inspire her fellow artists.
Mitchell is also a talented painter, creating the cover art for many of her albums, and her visual art will be featured prominently in the tribute concert, along with her music.
“I’m a creative person. I like the creative process,” Mitchell states. “I’ve been a painter all my life. I’ve been a musician most of my life. If you can paint with a brush, you can paint with words. … It’s a great honor to join the pantheon of recipients.”
Bestowed in recognition of the legendary songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is the nation’s highest award for influence, impact and achievement in popular music. The honoree is selected by the Librarian of Congress in consultation with a board of scholars, producers, performers, songwriters and other music specialists. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo the late Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Garth Brooks, and Lionel Richie.