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Christina Friis | The Quiet of Knowing: Joni Mitchell Unknown

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The Quiet of Knowing: Joni Mitchell Unknown

by Christina Friis

"Christina Friis' voice is set off to perfection by the finely executed guitar-playing of Blackburn and Finch's equally impressive keyboards, showing Joni Mitchell's uncanny ability to conjoin melodies and lyrics in these unknown songs." ~ Mark Scott
Genre: Folk: Folk-Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Come to the Sunshine
4:16 $0.99
2. Day After Day
4:17 $0.99
3. Hunter
3:50 $0.99
4. Carnival in Kenora
3:18 $0.99
5. I Won't Cry
3:46 $0.99
6. Blue on Blue
4:49 $0.99
7. Favorite Color
2:45 $0.99
8. Eastern Rain
5:09 $0.99
9. Winter Lady
3:47 $0.99
10. The Way It Is
3:56 $0.99
11. The Wizard of Is
2:52 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"‘The Quiet of Knowing’ came to life in the spring of 2015 at Beat ‘n Track Recording and Mastering in the idyllic town of Fallbrook, California. All songs were tracked with minimal alterations. This helped give the album its authentic sound and allowed me and my fellow musicians to simply let the songs speak through us.

All of these songs were written by Joni Mitchell between 1964 and 1969. Originating from Joni Mitchell’s earliest years of songwriting, they show Joni as she was just beginning to develop her craft. Joni Mitchell herself never released recordings of these songs. (‘Hunter’, however, was originally selected for inclusion on Mitchell's most lauded album, 1971's 'Blue' but was replaced by another song before the album was released.) By 1968, at the time of the release of her debut album, ‘Song to a Seagull’, she already had a wealth of new material to choose from and the songs included here didn’t make the cut.

On these song treasures, Joni Mitchell expresses an enormous depth of wisdom. Her playing also shows the beginnings of what came to be a completely unique guitar style. She developed a number of alternate tunings for her instrument as a way of compensating for fingering constraints that were the result of having suffered from polio as a child. The songs speak of love, traveling, relationship challenges, magic, and much more… We hope you enjoy listening to them even half as much as we enjoyed recording them."

- Christina Friis



to write a review

Les Irvin

One of a kind
Most people believe that Joni Mitchell emerged from nowhere with her first album in 1968. Truth is, Joni paid her dues for more than 5 years in coffeehouses - starting as early as 1963 in Saskatoon. Her song-writing talents began to emerge during this time and she wrote upwards of 50 songs that she road-tested night after night in the clubs. By the time her first album was recorded, the vast majority of these songs had been discarded - such was the nature of the exponential growth of her talent. She moved on, and the songs were never released.

Enter Christina Friis.

Fortunate to have access to rare tapes of Joni singing these songs in the clubs, Christina has arranged some of Joni's best unknown songs. Christina has a rare gift - a pitch-perfect, clear, powerful, transcendent voice that captivates immediately. Along with Dave Blackburn on guitar (an archivist for Joni's official website) and Barnaby Finch on piano, this release is not only an important document in the archives of Joni, but a highly enjoyable, contemporary look at the early budding talent of one of the great song-writing legends of all time.

Christina has done a great service to us all in recording 'lost' songs that we most likely will never hear Joni do herself. And there's not a better person to do it. Highly recommended.

Dave Blackburn

Producer's perspective.
What is left to learn about Joni Mitchell, after nearly fifty years of interviews and critical writings about her and her music? Not much, one would assume. Her influence on songwriters is by now immeasurably huge, and her songs have etched themselves into hearts of listeners for generations. Dozens of books have been written about her and continue to appear every year.

Well, as it turns out, there is a trove of songs that Mitchell wrote as publishing demos before her official recording debut in 1968. Some of these songs reveal the melodic freshness, angular harmonic sensibility and lyrical ingenuity that would become the hallmark of her body of work throughout her career. Even her first ever attempt at writing a song, called Day After Day, in 1965, has the poise and polish of an experienced writer, capturing in its lyrics and melody a palpable tristesse and a breadth that might elude many a more experienced songwriter. Joni began her career almost fully formed, it seems; she had considerable virtuosity on guitar and voice early on, a sense of original melody and harmony, often chromatic and “out of the box”, and of course that skill with word painting which would become the envy of songwriters everywhere for decades.

Christina Friis has made these early creations a special study and has brought these old gems into the light for Joni Mitchell fans to discover. She approached me to make new arrangements of them and I proceeded to probe for the essence of these early songs and extrapolate from their bare bones origins as living room demos. Together with pianist Barnaby Finch, Christina and I recorded these new arrangements, facing each other in a triangle and trying to capture the “shadows and light” that would permeate all of Mitchell’s catalog. Christina’s voice is a soaring and beautiful instrument in its own right with spectacular pitch and control and is well suited to navigating some of these difficult melodies. The spare instrumentation on most of the songs allows for the compositions to breathe without being obscured by “the track” and we went for live, no “click” performances, preserving some of the simplicity and organic nature of the source.

I invite all fans of Joni Mitchell to discover these “new old” songs, and to appreciate what Christina Friis has accomplished in this project, which is surely an important testament in the Joni Mitchell story and a fine album in its own right.

Dave Blackburn - project arranger and producer

Mark Scott

A Voice of Rare Clarity Illuminates Early Joni Mitchell Gems
The Quiet of Knowing

Christina Friis

Dave Blackburn – guitar
Barnaby Finch – keyboards
Arranged, produced and engineered by Dave Blackburn at Beat 'n Track Recording, Fallbrook, CA

The title of this exquisitely executed collection of songs comes from a song that is probably unknown to most people who are not avid fans of the great singer-songwriter, Joni Mitchell. 'Come To The Sunshine' is a song that speaks of illumination and clarity. The resulting combination of these two elements is 'the quiet of knowing' that comes from a depth of understanding so deep that spoken communication becomes superfluous.

Christina Friis's lovely singing voice has a fine clarity and expressiveness that fully illuminates the collection of largely unknown Joni Mitchell songs that make up this CD. Her impeccable phrasing and interpretive skills bring out the beauty of Mitchell's melodies and tease out the multiple layers of meaning in her lyrics. Her voice is not a knock off of Mitchell's but it does have a quality that fits very neatly into these songs. She takes full advantage of the emotional shadings that the music evokes and brings out the fullest depth that the lyrics contain. Christina Friis performs the rare trick of leaving the mark of her own unique interpretations on Joni Mitchell's songs while remaining true to Mitchell's spirit and vision.

Except for the the tracks 'Day After Day' and 'Hunter', the songs on 'The Quiet of Knowing' were never recorded by Joni Mitchell. An acetate recording of 'Day After Day, most likely cut as a demo, was made in 1966. But that recording has never been officially released and the song was never included on any of Joni Mitchell's albums. 'Hunter' was originally selected for inclusion on Mitchell's most lauded album, 1971's 'Blue' and there are some rare test pressings of 'Blue' that include it. But the song was cut before the final version of 'Blue' was released.

Christina Friis's fine instrument is set off to perfection by the finely executed guitar playing of Dave Blackburn and Barnaby Finch's equally impressive facility on keyboards. The combination of these three artists seems to be ideally suited to putting a lustrous finish on these songs that illustrate how Joni Mitchell's uncanny ability to conjoin melodies and lyrics first began to develop. It is a gift to have these early songs, most of which can only be found in YouTube videos of live performances, preserved in this polished but sincere and deeply felt format.

But Christina Friis is the vessel, here, through which the words and melodies of these lovely songs flow. She is nothing but perfection all the way through giving vivid interpretations of these songs, preserving a piece of the creative history of one of our most important songwriters while also breathing new life into this collection of songs.