Today you get eight versions of painter-turned-music-legend Joni Mitchell's (fansite wiki AMG) 1971 "River." She first started singing by belting out Christmas carols in a children's hospital. By 1971 she was in California, missing the winters of Canada and writing a "selfish and sad" paean to the end of a relationship.
I don't have a lot to say about this song, except that I had planned at one point to include every single one of these versions on this year's compilation, Have Yourself A Depressing Little Christmas. (Watch this space -- I'm posting it soon!) Also, I acquired almost all of these from BoyHowdy at his legendary coverblog Cover Lay Down. If I ever get around to putting together a blogroll, he's in the top three.
These songs are, in the approximate order you might want to listen, by Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos (live), Peter Mulvey, Rachael Yamagata, Angus Stone, Sarah McLachlan, Allison Crowe, and Travis.