Joni Mitchell Made an Unexpected Appearance at the Newport Folk Festival

She joined Brandi Carlile on stage

Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell performs with Brandi Carlile during the 2022 Newport Folk Festival at Fort Adams State Park.
Douglas Mason/Getty Images

It’s been over 50 years since the last time Joni Mitchell played at the storied Newport Folk Festival. On Sunday, those gathered who were watching Brandi Carlile’s set at the festival in question got to see something that they probably weren’t expecting —a guest appearance from Mitchell. As Pitchfork notes, the two singers played a version of the Mitchell song “A Case of You,” and Mitchell performed a solo version of “Just Like This Train.”

Mitchell had previously joined in a performance of “Big Yellow Taxi” at this year’s MusiCares Person of the Year gala, at which she was being honored. Prior to that, Pitchfork’s article points out, she had not performed live sicne 2013.

In 2015, Mitchell had a brain aneurysm, and she’s been in the midst of a long recovery process ever since. In a 2020 interview with Cameron Crowe for The Guardian, Mitchell described that process as “[j]ust inching my way along. I’m showing slow improvement but moving forward.” She’s also been revisiting some of her most iconic work via reissues and anniversary celebrations.

For her part, Carlile has been performing with a wide-ranging array of her musical influences, with Mitchell joining the likes of Soundgarden’s surviving members as artists Carlile has now shared a stage with.

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