Sneak Preview: Blue Clouds by Elizabeth Mitchell and You Are My Flower (available October 22)
Over the course of six beautiful albums in nearly 15 years, Elizabeth Mitchell has invited listeners to join her, husband Daniel Littleton, their daughter Storey, and other friends and relatives to become part of an extended musical family. On Blue Clouds (out October 23), she raises her special kind of family-centric music to new heights by bringing clarity and beauty to a surprising range of songs.
Breathing contemporary heart into traditional folk songs, and transforming classic rock songs by David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, and others into folk songs, Mitchell continues to grow that family of listeners with each album and concert. And while the family has grown, with well over 100,000 of her records bringing comfort and joy,Blue Clouds still makes Mitchell’s audience feel like they are part of a small picnic jam session with her and her band You Are My Flower.
The recordings on Blue Clouds are illuminated by elegant and simple arrangements, with acoustic guitars, harmoniums, banjos, pianos, fiddles, glockenspiels, and gentle drums and bass creating a soulful atmosphere for Mitchell’s clear and loving voice. The songs range from new compositions (“Rollin’ Baby,” “Arm in Arm”) to traditional tunes (“Hop Up, My Ladies,” “Froggie Went a-Courtin’”), to several unexpected covers. Mitchell looks to her childhood memories of 1970s radio on road trips in the family station wagon, and the resulting versions of “Kooks” by David Bowie, “May This Be Love” by Jimi Hendrix, “Blue Sky” by The Allman Brothers Band, “Everyone” by Van Morrison, and “I Wish You Well” by Bill Withers display Mitchell’s care in presenting popular material in a family music context.
Further influence came from renowned children’s illustrator/writer Remy Charlip (1929-2012), whose 1969 book Arm in Arm provided artwork for the album package and lyrics for the song of the same title. Charlip also helped inspire the 2007 Caldecott Medal-winning book The Invention of Hugo Cabret (adapted for the Academy Award-winning film Hugo), written and illustrated by Brian Selznick (who also contributes to the liner notes in Blue Clouds). Selznick writes: “You listen to [Mitchell’s] voice and instantly feel like her friend…. The songs on this album seem like a patchwork of memories we’ve always shared.”
On an album full of moving performances, perhaps the most beautiful is “Circle of the Sun,” recorded in honor of Storey’s cousin, Destry, who tragically died at just four years old. “Blue Clouds,” the title track, was written by Daniel Littleton as a lullaby for Storey when she was only three and is a fitting way to close this loving collection.
Upcoming tour includes New York City (2 shows), Olivebridge, NY, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, Portland, ME, and Atlanta, GA (2 shows).
For complete tour dates visit Elizabeth Mitchell’s official website: http://youaremyflower.org