The Dixie Chicks gave fans in New York City a very special surprise on Thursday night (Dec. 12), when they covered a Joni Mitchell classic as part of a rare public performance.

The award-winning country trio were part of the bill for Jack Antonoff's 6th annual Ally Coalition Talent Show, a benefit for at-risk LGBTQ youth. They closed out their four-song set with a cover of Joni Mitchell's "The River."

Mitchell included the Christmas breakup ballad on her Blue album in 1971, and though it was never a single, it's been recorded and covered by a number of other artists. In the fan-shot video above, Antonoff accompanies the Dixie Chicks on piano for their performance, which features a strong, understated vocal performance from Natalie Maines accompanied by shimmering harmonies from bandmates Emily Strayer and Martie Maguire. A saxophonist joins in for some instrumental trade-offs with Maguire's fiddle for a simple performance that places the emphasis squarely on the quality of the songwriting.

The Chicks have been holed up in the studio with Antonoff, who is producing a new album they are working on for release in 2020. They teased fans about new music earlier in 2019 by sharing a video from the studio with Antonoff, and Maines confirmed a new album was on the way in a podcast interview in September.

The upcoming Dixie Chicks album is titled Gaslighter, and the trio will tour arenas in 2020, marking their first tour since 2016. Gaslighter will be the group's first album since Taking the Long Way in 2006, and Maines says the new songs are the most personal they've ever recorded.

The Dixie Chicks also recently collaborated with Taylor Swift on "Soon You'll Get Better," a track on her new Lover album.

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