This is the only song of Joni’s I learned to play on guitar - For the Roses. It popped into my head this morning. I made a rudimentary version in standard tuning and sang it to myself in my wee house by the Thames river in London, Ontario in 1973.. The lyric, so storied and carrying a deep understanding of where she was in time, moved me and warned me and carried me further into my dream of being in that spotlight. I felt I was born for the stage and Joni was leading the way. Instinctively, I knew the only way through to a deeper understanding of my own needs as a writer was to go through Joni. I had to go through her, not around her. I sang along with her and found my voice. I can remember being told derisively by a popular male songwriter who came through the wee club I waitressed in, the club where I first sang on stage, “You sound just like Joni Mitchell”, as if it was a bad thing; as if I should stop; as if I was doomed to be derivative and second-rate. As hurtful as that was, his was a voice I never wanted to emulate and it was a superficial wound... I kept singing, adding voices to my record collection, singing along, letting the good stuff stick to me without really knowing what I was listening for other than a depth of character in them that would take me deeper into myself, I suppose: Laura Nyro, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Cleo Laine, Astrid Gilberto, Bonnie Raitt, Beverly Glenn Copeland, Sarah Vaughan, Nick Drake, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Paul Williams, Big Mama Thornton, Jim Morrison, Joe Cocker, Mireille Mathieu, Shelby Flint... Crikey, I absorbed so many great singers and songs but it started with Joni Mitchell’s album ‘Song to a Seagull’ a record my brother owned. From ‘67 through to Court and Spark in ‘74, I absorbed her work. My fascination wavered after that, but my gratitude for her brilliance and vision and tenacity has no bounds.