Big Yellow Taxi

On Les Stroud’s release of his transitional roots rock album Bittern Lake, comes one of the album’s biggest surprises: a version of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi,” that strips away the original’s catchy chorus and sunny acoustic guitars in favor of a bluesy take featuring a rich slide guitar along with Stroud’s own dark and scorching harmonica licks. While the bar is set monumentally high for covering Mitchell’s material, Stroud approaches the level of the original while vastly surpassing the more famous rendition from Counting Crowes.

Director Biography – Matt Mahurin

Over thirty years as an illustrator, photographer, film director and teacher.

Political and social illustrations for Time, Newsweek, Mother Jones, Rolling
Stone, Esquire, The London Observer and New York Times Op-Ed pages.

Photographic essays on The Homeless, People With AIDS, Texas Prison
System, Abortion Clinics, Mental Hospitals, Nicaragua, Haiti, Belfast, Mexico,
Japan and France.

Published three books of fine-art photographs.

Photographs in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in
New York City.

Filmwork in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Directed music videos for Peter Gabriel, U2, Tom Waits, REM, Tracy Chapman,
Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Ice-T, Metallica, David Byrne, and Joni Mitchell.

Documentary “I Like Killing Flies” chosen 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

Wrote and Directed the feature film “FEEL” which premiered on The Sundance Channel 2010.

Wrote and directed the feature film, “Mugshot” which won best film at the 1996
Hamptons Film Festival.

Gold and silver medals from The Society of Illustrators.

Continues to teach workshops and lectures on the craft of imagemaking at
schools and professional organizations.

Lives in California.

Project Links

Director Statement

Working on Big Yellow Taxi allowed me to not only help Les deliver his soulful rendition of Joni Mitchell’s classic cautionary tale, but also inspired me to express my own concerns for protecting nature.

Traveling through cities and farming communities allowed me to capture the productive yet precarious give and take between civilization and cultivation.

As a long time fan of Joni Mitchell and a newfound fan of Les, it was a wonderful opportunity to merge the musical past and present in a future vision of caring for our earth.


Matt Mahurin


Matt Mahurin


Les Stroud

Year Released:






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