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Robin Adler/Mutts of the Planet (Performance Lab D10)

September 6, 2012

San Diego vocalist Robin Adler, veteran of the Peter Sprague group, and her husband, multi-instrumentalist music producer Dave Blackburn, have been lifelong fans of Joni Mitchell. In early 2006 they embarked on the ambitious project of learning her music in all its complexities and through all its epochs. Hoping to honor such a major artist they have produced a tribute show deep in its own right.

Although they often perform as a guitar and vocal duo, Robin and Dave have assembled a group of extraordinary musicians to be the concert band, called Mutts of the Planet, after a line from a Mitchell lyric. The band has evolved fresh arrangements of well-known Mitchell standards such as “Woodstock”, “River” and “Both Sides Now” and tackles some of the most challenging material from the later jazz period in Mitchell’s career. The music is presented along with illuminating details of educational interest about Mitchell’s songs and the circumstances of their creation, which has been a favorite aspect for many listeners. The result has been a hugely successful series of sold out concerts prompting audience testimonials from the website guestbook: “Robin’s vocals were dead on. I thought Joni was actually in the room!” ”Robin was incarnating the soul and spirit of our beloved Joni” and “Was it worth the 2,281 miles I traveled to hear it? Oh heck yeah!” The concert band comprises Robin on all lead vocals, Dave Blackburn on guitars, Barnaby Finch on keyboards (touring veteran of Tom Scott, Lee Ritenour and George Benson’s bands), top San Diego bassist Dave Curtis, Jeff Olson on drums (David Benoit) and Britt Doehring backup vocals.