In a rather curt start to the show, Sally Barker apologised to the audience for not being Joni Mitchell. The edge in her tone was understandable but the justification didn’t seem necessary as the very amiable audience of folk music aficionados expected only a tribute to the music of the Canadian icon. The audience were expertly eased into Sally Barker’s voice as she sang the first song without an instrumental accompaniment. Her style was certainly well suited to the challenge of capturing the magic of Mitchell’s singing, and she even looked the part. However, at no point was she trying to impersonate Mitchell’s iconic magic. Instead she tastefully performed the songs as they mattered to her. Mitchell used nearly ninety different tunings across her back-catalogue. This must have complicated the show’s choice of songs, as only four pre-tuned guitars could be used in this performance. This obstacle was superbly sidestepped by using a selection that was perfect for a crowd pleasing show. The setlist includes many revered classics, some tracks that held particular meaning for the performer, and many that reflected upon touching stages of the songstress’s life. The acoustics of the venue were excellent and when the first reassuring and familiar chords were played, it was sufficient to send shivers down my spine. The music explores the truths in life and love. When dealing with such matters, each person’s experience of the music is extremely personal, and Barker demonstrates this by altering each song to illustrate her own interpretation and appreciation of the music. A subtle range of deviations in pauses and pitch makes every second bespoke. My understanding of particular tracks was enhanced through the insight of Barker’s perspective. This experience was opened out to each member of the audience as they were encouraged to join in. There was a possibility for disaster when small percussion instruments were handed out but somehow it worked superbly. This unique chance to become involved in the music as a group was appreciated as the hall throbbed, tapped and hummed with enthusiasm.These songs were written with such passion and involvement that it seems essential to see them performed live in order to better understand their quality. Joni Mitchell Project provided the rare opportunity for a talented and insightful musician and fan alike to share such brilliant music.