Come 1972, Joni Mitchell’s singular songwriting talent and poetic gifts were undeniable. Fresh off the back-to-back Platinum-certified releases of 1970’s Ladies of the Canyon and 1971’s Blue — totemic albums whose artfulness and ubiquity would influence generations of songwriters — Mitchell had grown wary of mounting media scrutiny. Everything from her style choices to romantic partners became the subject of far more gossip column inches than were ever dedicated to the lifestyle minutiae of her male counterparts.
In response, she had pulled back, announcing an early retirement from the stage in 1970 and moving to the quiet expanses of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. It was a fruitful change of scenery. Inspired by her proximity to nature and refreshed by the peaceful seclusion, she began constructing the songs that would become For The Roses. This respite thrust Mitchell into a remarkably fertile creative period, yielding a run of albums — 1972’s For The Roses, 1974’s Court And Spark, and 1975’s The Hissing Of Summer Lawns — that would simultaneously expand and refine the scope of her music. Her adventurous, intricate arrangements and growing formidability as a bandleader injected these songs with a clarity of purpose, a potent muscularity, and a sense of possibility — it is among the most exciting eras of a near peerless career.
This era comes into even greater focus on Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 3: The Asylum Years (1972-1975), out October 6, 2023 on Rhino Records. It’s the latest entry in Rhino’s ongoing, GRAMMY-winning series exploring the vast untapped archives of rare Joni Mitchell recordings — a project guided intimately by Mitchell’s own vision and personal touch. Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 3: The Asylum Years (1972-1975) will be available both in a 5CD / digital version and a 4LP cut-down version, both with an accompanying book featuring photos and a conversation about this period between Joni Mitchell and longtime friend Cameron Crowe.