The River and the Highway

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"The River and the Highway"
Single by Pam Tillis
from the album All of This Love
B-side "All of This Love"
Released January 27, 1996
Format 7" single
Genre Country
Length 4:21
Label Arista
Songwriter(s) Gerry House, Don Schlitz
Producer(s) Pam Tillis, Mike Poole
Pam Tillis singles chronology
"Deep Down"
"The River and the Highway"
"It's Lonely Out There"
"Deep Down"
"The River and the Highway"
"It's Lonely Out There"

"The River and the Highway" is a song written by Gerry House and Don Schlitz, and recorded by American country music artist Pam Tillis. It was released in January 1996 as the second single from the album All of This Love. The song reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.[1]


The song is a ballad using a river and a highway as metaphors for a man and woman who are incompatible but whose lives intertwine. The woman is symbolized as the river in that she "follows the path of least resistance" and "twists and turns with no regard to distance", while the man is "headed for a single destination".

Critical reception[edit]

Deborah Evans Price of Billboard praised the lyrics as "powerful poetic allegory at its very best". She also said that the song had a "pretty melody" and is "[q]uite possibly the best record in an already distinguished career."[2]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1996) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[3] 14
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[4] 8

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1996) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[5] 71


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 348. 
  2. ^ Price, Deborah Evans (27 January 1996). "Reviews: "The River and the Highway"". Billboard: 106. 
  3. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 2954." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. April 29, 1996. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  4. ^ "Pam Tillis – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Pam Tillis.
  5. ^ "Best of 1996: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1996. Retrieved July 20, 2013.