Beth Covers Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ for Holiday Playlist


Beth Orton has recorded a new cover of Joni Mitchell’s song “River”.

The song is the first release from an Amazon holiday music playlist called “All Is Bright,” which will feature new seasonal songs along with old favorites (Amazon is keeping the full track list and artists involved under wraps).

Joni Mitchell’s version, appeared on her landmark 1971 album “Blue.”

Beth told me "The song was recorded with Oliver Kraus on Cello, he also recorded and mixed the track. We recorded it at his house in Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles. Oliver is a string arranger I’ve worked with since Trailer Park. Oliver (and Beckie Doe) wrote the iconic string parts for She cries your name. We recorded the voice and cello pretty much together and then Sam Amidon laid the beautiful guitar part over that"

Here is a quote Beth gave to Wall Street Journal:

"Joni Mitchell’s River has meant a lot to me over the years. It is a song I’ve grieved to, cried along with sung at the top of my voice too because it feels so good to do so! And one I have felt less alone because of. It is also an example of what a perfect song is and can do, the melody is completely at one with the feeling of the words. It is a beautiful story told exactly.

For all the sorrow I also feel there is resolve, when the pain is that accute sometimes it flips over to a place of understaning and forgiveness for the self and others. There is compassion and a beauty in that pain and within the lines of this song. There is always hope, especailly when we know we are not alone with our feelings and our experience. Christmas is a double edged sword. Its a time for people to come together and a time to remind people who don’t have anyone to get together with of how apart they are. It can be an intolerable time!

Joni Mitchell’s River is a song that speaks to the bereft and the love lost. It is a love song of the highest order, a beautiful accompaniment to a broken heart. It speaks to me of that feeling of wanting to disapear, not just off the face of the earth, but from the self. It’s that awful acknowledgement of mistakes made and lessons learnt too late. Everything is hientened emotionally at Christmas and if there is anything undone it will be felt all the stronger.

I would dedicate this song to those who are grieving the loss of a sense of place, loved ones, family. I can’t imagine wanting to cover any other song related to Christmas (except Little drummer boy, of course!) It is an honer to try to walk in Joni’s footsteps and this is also my small tribute to her and the joy she brings my life all year round".





We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our Privacy Policy.

I accept cookies from this site