Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, and the Torch Song Tradition


"The torch song has long been a vehicle for expression - perhaps American song's most visceral. Two artists in particular have built upon this tradition to express unique outlooks on their lives and the world around them. Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, and the Torch Song Tradition combines biographical material, artist commentary, critical interpretation, and selected exemplars of the writers' work to reveal the power of authorship and the creative drive necessary to negotiate an artistic vision in the complicated mechanisms of the commercial music industry. As in Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and American Song, author Larry David Smith considers the complex intersection of biography, creative philosophy, artistic imperative, and stylistic tendencies in the work of Joni Mitchell and Elvis Costello - one famously confessional, one famously confrontational... two artists with seemingly nothing in common. Yet Smith shows that Mitchell's and Costello's personalities are, in fact, fascinatingly complementary. Mitchell and Costello both yielded bodies of work that are cohesive, coherent, and rich in meaning. Both have made historic contributions to the singer-songwriter model, rebellions responses to the creative and commercial compromises associated with their chosen field, and distinct thematic responses to the torch wing tradition. Smith examines these responses, offering a unique and invaluable exploration of the craft of two of the last century's most towering musical figures." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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