Joni Mitchell, Billy Corgan, Brian Wilson and Barack Obama star in July's musical Month in Review

Usually, items like these would make our regular Month in Review piece, but there’s enough music news to warrant its own column.

Here goes:

The Newport Folk Festival was last weekend. Making a surprise appearance was Joni Mitchell. We haven’t seen much of her since the brain aneurysm that almost took her life in 2015. But, lately, she has been hosting what is called “Joni Jams” at her home. That led to her showing up in Newport, supported by musical friends such as Brandi Carlile and Wynonna. It was a special and emotional day. Welcome back, Joni.

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has lived in Highland Park, Illinois for twenty years. His partner Chloe Mendel joined him a decade ago. They’re a visible part of the north suburban community. The city was and still is devasted by the mass shooting on July 4th. Corgan found a way to help by hosting a fundraising concert at his Madam Zuzu’s teahouse. The event has raised over $250,000. An incredible way to help a community in need.

Former President Barack Obama dropped his annual summer-listening setlist. It’s a wide variety of tunes that includes rock, jazz, blues, country and classical music. While checking out his tunes, I noticed one from the band Wet Leg. WOW!! I wrote a column earlier this year about how much I surprisingly liked this band. Who knew I was as cool as Barack… or maybe vice versa?

Finally, on a flight to Seattle, I watched the Brian Wilson documentary, “Long Promised Road.” It is a moving portrait of the Beach Boys legend. One takeaway was Wilson stating that he has been hearing voices in his head since his early twenties. It’s incredible that he could live like this, along with all the other demons he’s dealt with, and still make a phenomenal catalog of music. To call Brian Wilson a genius is an understatement.

That’s it for the Musical Month in Review. The regular edition drops tomorrow.

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