ROCK / RIFFS: Behind closed doors: The singer and writer Ingrid Chavez finds she can relate to Joni Mitchell's 'Blue Motel Room'

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THIS IS a ballad about Joni Mitchell's life on the road. It's about being in love, but being lonely, longing for that person you've had to leave behind. I can relate to it, because I'm on the road a lot and I know what it is to sit in a hotel room, reflecting on a lover and wondering if they'll be there when I return. I often wind up writing from that place, so the room sort of symbolises the state of your soul.

It's a regular Joni Mitchell blues - she's strumming along on her acoustic guitar, singing in that silky voice she has. Actually, she's really a talker, but she manages to talk melodically, so it's as direct as plain speech but still has musicality about it.

She mixes a bit of melancholy with scepticism in the song. At one point the lyric goes 'When I get back to town / We're gonna have to hold ourselves a peace-talk / In some neutral cafe.' I like that vocabulary of diplomacy. She jokes that he should tell those girls he's got German measles to put them off, but through the humour you sense the insecurity.

Joni Mitchell's a great inspiration to me as a singer / songwriter. It's nice to know that even one of the greats can be stuck in a blue motel room somewhere, feeling the same things as the rest of us.

'Blue Motel Room' is on the Joni Mitchell album Hejira (WEA)

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