Smithsonian Folkways artist Elizabeth Mitchell has one of those crystal clear, beautiful voices that can take any song and turn it into the musical equivalent of spun gold. And while she has already released the much-loved, Grammy-nominated collection of Woody Guthrie covers earlier this year, she has more songs to give us.
In fact, her latest release mixes traditional American folk with original tunes and covers from
everyone from David Bowie to Van Morrison to Jimi Hendrix. Yes, really.
Besides her gorgeous voice, what unifies all of her songs on Blue Clouds are the lyrics that reflect qualities I want my kids to hear about as often as possible: The power of family, love, kindness, being comfortable in your own skin, and having fun together. As with her previous releases, Elizabeth includes her favorite people in collaboration In fact, two songs written by Elizabeth’s sister-in-law Anna Padgett are among my favorites: Arm in Arm puts music to a storybook’s words, and Rollin’ Baby is total toe-tapping, hand-clapping fun.
And Circle of the Sun is pure love for a little girl who left this world too soon. Good luck getting through this without a tear or two.
I read a few grumblings that on her previous CD, Sunny Day, there were too many children’s voices in the recording, most notably of her daughter Storey. But when I listen to Elizabeth Mitchell, I get the sense that music is interwoven into her life–not something she just does on the side–which is why her daughter’s pretty little voice appearing in some songs sounds totally natural to me, as is the voice of her husband and other guests.
In fact, listen to her cover of Van Morrison’s Everyone, and you get the sense that she wants you to sing, or tap, or dance along too. -Christina
Congratulations to Charissa C! She won a copy of Elizabeth Mitchell’s Blue Clouds CD.