15 Hymns Preview: River

Before we start the Christmas Hymns, Zack thought we should give a day for all those who suffer from Season Affective Disorder, which I thought was a phrase he just invented so that he could take sick days off for his Christmas funk, but turns out it was actually invented by a bunch of scientists so that they could take sick days off for their Christmas funk.


Zack’s submission is a perennial Christmas funk favorite (and I don’t mean funk as in James Brown or Tower of Power). Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you a slightly drunk Zack performing Joni Mitchell’s “River”.


joni mitchell

15 thoughts on “15 Hymns Preview: River

  1. aly hawkins

    That is some beautiful Christmas funk. The booze probably helped, but that performance is pure pathos, Zack. (And you sound great, to boot.) Thanks.

  2. corey

    comforting, Zack. It’s got everything I love about music these days. Raw, unprocessed, bare, lo-fi, and hi-quality. I’ll rip this and put it in with my Lyle Lovett stuff. Thanks much.

  3. Chad

    Hearing this song is startling. I haven’t heard Zack pick up a guitar in a while. It’s instantly familiar, comforting, and then… unsetlling.

    Either Zack’s time and feel has grown exponentially since I last heard him play, or my memory is cloudy. That’s fine work, son.

    I know a lot of people who make music, and I’ve known some them for upwards of 15 years at this point. They tend to go one of two ways. Some of them sound exactly the same as the last time I heard them. They never seem to make a move.

    Then there are the others…

  4. Grammy

    Geez, Zacque…I agree with Chad: when did your playing get so damned good??? I LOVED IT!!!

    In my line of work, I am forced each year to the brutal reality that the vast majority of people do NOT have the “Norman Rockwell” holiday season. Most people I work with wish they could just fast-forward to Jan. 2 and be done with it. It always makes me very, very, very grateful for the people in my life who deem me worthy enough to want to spend Christmas with me…

    Love you, Zacque. Miss you so much. Nana’s gone, and I have purchased a pack of ultralight Marlboros (I am so naughty at age 55). So when/where can we meet?

  5. Zack

    Wow guys, thanks! I’ve been in Mexico for the last 10 days, and had no idea Mike had this posted yet. Thanks again for all the nice words. Maybe I’ll pick up a guitar and start writing again.

    As for the song, Joni is the queen. I’ve never related to a single Christmas song in my life, except for this one. As I’m sure Ally may agree, the holiday carries some pretty heavy emotional baggage for some if us. I’ve always loved this song because it reminds me that I’m not the only one who thinks about finding a rock to crawl under this time of year.

  6. Sara

    Of course people love it Zack! And of course you should pick up the guitar and start writing again! Maybe you’ll finally believe me now that I’m not the only one who says it.

    I played your tune over and over again as I drove my little rental car across the lonely Texas plains. I closed my eyes and sank deeply into the sound of your pure, unapologetic voice and cried. And then I crashed, because my eyes were closed while I was driving. :) It’s beautiful honey. You’re a star!

  7. Sheila

    Wow. From dancing like Snoopy over on Go Tell it on the Mountain to Cry Me a River in less than three minutes. Where’s Lucy? I need to talk.

    But seriously, as a frequent cave dweller, I totally get this song and love the art posted with it.

    I cried when I put my tree up this year..every ornament a memory and symbol of loss (cup half empty syndrome). It’s been a tough year with many loved ones gone and too much change.

    That’s probably why Labor of Love moved me so much. Christmas morning didn’t arrive without pain, sacrifice and suffering. Even in the darkest places, light finds it’s way in, and with it, somehow, hope.

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