Media website The A.V. Club has been recruiting artists to perform covers of holiday songs, and on Tuesday they premiered Grammy Award nominee Ashley Monroe's version of Joni Mitchell's classic Christmastime heartbreaker "River." You can watch Monroe's performance by using the media player included with this article.
"River" has become one of Mitchell's most played - and most covered - songs since it debuted on her 1971 album Blue. Mitchell's official website estimates that the song has been redone more than 400 times, second only to "Both Sides Now." Among the other artists who have recorded it are Robert Downey Jr., Tori Amos, Cee Lo Green, Barry Manilow, Aimee Mann, Sarah McLachlan and Idina Menzel.
Not as many country artists have covered the song, though, which makes Monroe's version all the more interesting to listen to. The Pistol Annies member gives the song a certain down-home sound that helps set her cover apart from the many of them which have come before.
Monroe released her third studio album, The Blade, on July 24. Led by single "On To Something Good," the record earned Monroe a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album and made best albums of the year lists from Rolling Stone and Time. Debuting at number two on Billboard's Top Country Albums Chart, it was the highest-charting record of Monroe's career.
The Blade featured songs co-written with Vince Gill ("Weight of the Load"), Miranda Lambert ("I'm Good At Leavin") and fellow country sensation Chris Stapleton ("Winning Streak" and "If the Devil Don't Want Me"). Between her solo success and her work with Pistol Annies, Monroe has become one of the rising female artists in country music.
She'll be taking her talents overseas in the new year. Monroe has booked a trio of European concert dates in the spring as part of the Country to Country Tour with Lambert, Dwight Yoakam and Thomas Rhett. On Mar. 11, they'll play London's O2 Arena, followed by Mar. 12 at Dublin 3 Arena in Dublin and a Mar. 13 show at Glasgow's Clyde Auditorium.
The singer returns to the United States with her Apr. 24 appearance at the Off the Rails Country Music Festival in Frisco, Texas. Tickets for that show are available through AXS.
For more on Ashley Monroe, visit her artist page at AXS.