A two-time Grammy-winner, John Prine is among the English language’s premier phrase-turners. Almost 50 years into a remarkable career that has drawn effusive praise from Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Roger Waters, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and others who would know, Prine is a smiling, shuffling force for good.He is a 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Songwriter’s Hall of Fame nominee, a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member and a PEN New England Lyrics Award recipient whose classic debut album, simply titledJohn Prine, is recognized as part of the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame and whose songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Carly Simon, Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt, Norah Jones, George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Zac Brown Band and many others.His critically acclaimed new album,The Tree of Forgiveness, was produced by Grammy Award winning produce Dave Cobb and recently debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200—a career high chart position and sales week for the legendary singer, songwriter and performer.
Of course, the opposite is true today. Those three songs – as well as “In Spite of Ourselves,” “Lake Marie,” “Fish and Whistle,” and so many others – are Prine signatures. His songs have been recorded by iconic singers like Johnny Cash (“Sam Stone”), Bette Midler (“Hello in There”) and Bonnie Raitt (“Angel from Montgomery”). He’s an uncredited co-writer on the now-classic “You Never Even Call Me by My Name” and his songs have been cut by country stars like Zac Brown Band (“All the Best”), Miranda Lambert (“That’s the Way the World Goes Round”) and George Strait (“I Just Want to Dance with You”). A gem from The Tree of Forgiveness, “Boundless Love” is also ripe for the picking.
Prine won his first Grammy for the 1991 album, The Missing Years, and he joined the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003. The Grammy Hall of Fame inducted his 1971 self-titled debut album in 2014. Two years later he accepted the PEN New England’s Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award. At the age of 70, he was named Artist of the Year by the Americana Music Association in 2017. Naturally, The Tree of Forgiveness is rooted in that same observant songwriting that he’s crafted throughout his career.
“I kept saying when I was doing this album, it’s going to be my last one,” Prine admits with a grin. “But if things go really good with it, I can’t see why I wouldn’t do something else.”