Joni Mitchell tribute band still ’blue’ over COVID

Kimberly Ford is the singer in A Celebration of Joni Mitchell, the Joni Mitchell-inspired band that played at the Reel & Brand twice over the past couple years.

In those shows, Ford and her five excellent musicians played a selection of Mitchell’s songs than spanned her four-decade career.

Sonoma Mission Gardens owner Dave Fazio was in the crowd during the most recent Reel show. He said, “It was really a treat to see someone of Kimberly’s caliber with the band perform here in Sonoma at a smaller venue like the Reel. Not only was the music and the singing of an amazing quality, but her chatting between numbers brought the performance to the level of an amazing evening ― really, really enjoyable!”

It is no surprise that Ford and her band are not coming back to Sonoma anytime soon. She is, however, seeing the light at the end the COVID tunnel and is beginning the process of regrouping the band and learning new songs.

Of the shutdown, Ford said, “I just have to remind myself that a lot of people have lost a lot more that I have. This is a serious situation. We are going to be able to recover and reconstitute our professional lives. It might be different, but we will be upright.”

Calling from her Santa Barbara home, Ford said, “For most of my friends, my musician friends who are dependent on playing out… it has just been dreadful.”

She went on, “I am doing OK, I am teaching a bit. Everything’s online of course. I have a group class… it’s all on Zoom. It’s all this wacky Zoom stuff.”

With a musical twist that Mitchell would not have imagined in her most experimental periods, Ford has been spending time with her partner playing two-part classical duets. He plays the flute, Ford plays accordion. She laughed and said, “Our friends say, ‘Oh my god, they’ve been in quarantine too long.”

The quarantine hit her band in a very disappointing way. They were booked for a big tour last April that included a show at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and gigs in Boston and New York. “OK, we made it guys! Whoops, not so fast,” Ford explained the sinking feeling they all felt.

Ford wants to get back on track and get things going again. “As soon as everybody gets vaccinated, we will be back together. I have missed it. I have missed them terrible…they are just some of the coolest people I know.” The admiration is shared by all the members of the band and is apparent to all who see them play. It is a terrific concert.

The Joni Mitchell tribute show has been rebranded “Dreamland,” the title of one of Mitchell’s songs. When we emerge from this foggy dream, keep your eyes on this space to learn how to get another dose of Kimberly Ford, her wonderful voice and presence, and her great band.

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