To polite applause a real pretty eighteen- or nineteen-year-old girl with hair like a golden helmet strolled onto the stage. Juno thought she seemed mighty confident for someone new to this game, and not at all embarrassed by the fact that she only had a toy guitar. But the moment Joni started singing, Juno knew why that was.
The song was Maid Of Constant Sorrow as popularized by Judy Collins recently, which by that stage Juno’d heard a good few times. Not as it was meant to be heard, though, as it turned out. It wasn’t only Joni’s voice, and that was as pure as anything that came out of a jukebox back then. It was what powered that voice. Instantly the atmosphere in the whole hazy basement got fantastically condensed and endlessly expansive at once. Needles seemed to be growing out the back of Juno’s neck. There was no doubt that Joni had it in her to be better than everyone else who had ever sang that song.