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Last summer at the Newport Folk Festival, fans of the singer Brandi Carlile were treated to a shocking surprise: a guest appearance by Joni Mitchell, who had been barely seen in public since recovering from an aneurysm in 2015. The joyful performance went old-school viral — a cross-generational feel-good sensation.
This month came the second wave of the comeback: a nearly three-hour Joni Jam at Carlile’s Echoes Through the Canyon festival in Washington, that featured Mitchell singing and playing electric guitar accompanied by acolytes: Annie Lennox, Allison Russell, Wendy and Lisa, Sarah McLachlan, and others.
On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about how Mitchell was received during her career peak, the recent steps she’s taken toward public performance and how she is remaking her own music in her later years.