February 5, 2023

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Joni Mitchell to receive Gershwin Award at All-Star DC Tribute Concert

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Joni Mitchell is set to receive the 2023 Library of Congress Gershwin Award for Popular Song, an honor that will be presented at a tribute concert to be filmed in Washington, D.C., on March 1, with a televised premiere on PBS. That’s the end of the month.

No performers have yet been announced for the March 1 live show, which will air on PBS March 31 at 9 p.m. ET. Ken Ehrlich, who has served as executive producer of the Grammys for three decades, will produce the show in Washington with WETA and the Library of Congress.

“This is a very prestigious award,” Mitchell said in a general statement. “Thank you for honoring me.”

This will mark the second year in a row that Mitchell has received one of the top honors available to any music artist, after Mitchell was awarded MusicCare’s Person of the Year last spring at a pre-Grammys dinner and concert. That all-star show was reportedly not filmed for broadcast, so the Gershwin tribute will give fellow artists a chance to perform his songs for a wider audience.

Lionel Richie received the Gershwin Award last year after Garth Brooks received the honor in 2020. Recipients of the award since Paul Simon became the first recipient in 2007 include Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Carole King and Tony Bennett. The National Award for Lifetime Achievement in Popular Song is named after the songwriter brothers Ira and George Gershwin.

Although no venue was immediately announced for the concert, the event has been held at the DAR Constitution Hall in recent years. In the early years, the annual was held in venues ranging from Washington’s Warner Theater to the East Room of the White House.

“Joni Mitchell’s music and art have left a distinctive mark on American culture and internationally, transcending folk music with a distinctive voice whose songs will stay with us through the ages,” said Carla Hayden, Librarian of the Library of Congress. “Mitchell’s music has many artists and music lovers singing his tunes. We are honored to present the Gershwin Award to this musical genius.”

The Gershwin Prize concert isn’t the only public event already on Mitchell’s calendar for 2023. In June, the middle of a Brandy Carlyle’s three-night stand in Washington’s Gorge — another Washington — will be dedicated to a “Johnny Jam.” That show is expected to follow along the lines of a surprise set of the same name at last summer’s Newport Folk Festival, when Carlyle and other artists sang Mitchell’s songs and he himself played guitar in public for the first time since suffering an aneurysm in 2015.

Elton John mentioned it on his radio program recently – and Carlyle confirmed diversity — that a live album from the Newport Festival, “Johnny Jam,” will be released sometime in 2023.

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