Review #133: Hejira, Joni Mitchell

Karla Clifton
2 min readJul 17, 2021

#133: Hejira, Joni Mitchell

We’re hitting our third Joni album. With four albums on the list, not five, she’s taking up a little less than one percent of the total albums. Still, four albums is quite a bit, so we’re going to approach every Joni album with a little bit of caution.

Joni found this word in a dictionary and liked it for both the meaning (refers to a journey) and the “hanging j,” like in Steely Dan’s Aja. She wrote all the music over “a series of road trips” that she took in the mid-seventies.

I love this album cover so much. Is the cloud positioned over her lungs intentionally, because she’s smoking?! Amazing.


“Coyote” — Thank God I’ve listened to so much jazz at this point; otherwise this whole album would have flown straight over my head.

“Amelia”Like the hexagram of the heavens/ Like the strings of my guitar. The lyrics on this one are so much prettier than on Court and Spark.

“Furry Sings The Blues” Neil Young plays harmonica on this! Also this is about a Memphis jazz player named Furry Lewis, who was VERY angry that Joni used his name on a song that he hated anyway, and wanted royalties.

“A Strange Boy” — These are such good story-songs — love the realization that she’s with someone childish.

“Hejira” — One of Joni’s musical inspirations on this album was bass player Jaco Pastorius, who plays a bunch of layered bass parts on several songs on this album. This is my favorite one that he’s on.

“Song for Sharon”Went to Staten Island to buy myself a mandolin. Relatable.

“Black Crow” — Joni Mitchell and electric guitars are a pairing I didn’t know I needed.

“Refuge of the Road” — This one is written about a Buddhist commune in Colorado, where Joni Mitchell apparently kicked her cocaine addiction. Fascinating! Fun fact, that commune is controversial and has been accused of being a cult.


Nope, I loved all of these.


Maybe I just didn’t understand Court and Spark, but I think this album is WAY better. It’s edgier, jazzier, and Cheech & Chong are nowhere to be seen.

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