There’s been a bit of a Joni Mitchell buzz at Surrey Arts Centre over the past couple of months.
First, many memorable songs of the Canadian folk-pop-jazz icon were reinterpreted in Circle Game, an Arts Club/Firehall co-pro musical that played the Bear Creek Park theatre’s main stage on a multi-date run in February.
And now this month, on Wednesday, March 27, Mitchell’s classic Blue album will be performed from beginning to end by Merideth Kaye Clark in another Surrey Spectacular series show at the SAC, this time in the studio theatre.
The 10-song LP was a groundbreaking one for Mitchell when released in 1971, with “River,” “This Flight Tonight,” “California” and “Carey” among its tracks. Blue has rated among the best 30 albums ever recorded (by Rolling Stone magazine early this decade), and in 2017 was named the greatest album ever made by a woman (by National Public Radio, or NPR).
“After nearly 50 years, Blue remains the clearest and most animated musical map to the new world that women traced, sometimes invisibly, within their daily lives in the aftermath of the utopian, dream-crushing 1960s,” wrote NPR’s Ann Powers. “It is a record full of love songs, of sad songs; but more than that, it is a compendium of reasonable demands that too many men in too many women’s lives heard, in 1971, as pipe dreams or outrageous follies.”
For Clark, Mitchell has been a huge influence throughout her career, as both a singer and songwriter.
“I’ve always felt a strong connection to her music,” Clark, originally from Kansas City, said in a pre-concert release. “(Blue) is a deep reflection of her whirlwind romantic relationships and beautifully conveys the intricate mix of joy, passion, and heartache people often feel when they fall in and out of love. Every time I listen to Blue, I draw new inspiration from Mitchell’s poetry. I invite audience members to rediscover their own connections to her breathtaking music by listening to this entire body of work performed live.”
In concert, Clark performs Mitchell’s music on guitar and dulcimer, and is accompanied by Mont Chris Hubbard on piano, guitar and some vocals.
The Missouri-raised Clark earned a Master’s degree in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University before she hit stages across America, with a touring version of Wicked among her credits. Now based in Portland, Clark writes her own music, too, including the folk-pop of an album called Young Stellar Object, available at meridethkayeclark.com.
At Surrey Arts Centre, songstress Raine Hamilton will open Clark’s all-Blue show “with her prism-clear vocals, accompanied by violin, guitar, cello, and double bass to create a resonant chamber folk sound,” promises a release.
The March 27 concert, originally planned for the main stage but since moved to the smaller studio, starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, starting at $36, can be purchased at tickets.surrey.ca, or call 604-501-5566. Surrey Arts Centre is located at 13750 88th Ave.