The Americana Music Association corralled the most important names within the style to laud, reward and carry out the music of John Prine at its annual Pre-Grammy Salute on the Troubadour in Los Angeles. "The phrase genius is used usually and sometimes instances too lavishly,' mentioned Dwight Yoakam from the stage through the almost three-hour present Saturday night time (Feb. 9). “It isn’t used sufficient in the case of John Prine and his music.”
Artists starting from Yoakam to Margo Price, Bob Weir and Boz Scaggs all took on Prine’s catalog in an evening that helped crystallize the affect Prine has had on generations of artists and comes on the heels of a late profession surge for the singer-songwriter icon due to The Tree of Forgiveness, his first new album in 13 years that’s up for 2 Grammy nominations this weekend for finest Americana album and finest American roots music for each "Knockin’ On Your Screen Door" and "Summer’s End."
"Picture this," echoed Joe Henry, "John Prine has been a mountain earlier than me. He’s a masterful songwriter who impressed my first younger try to attempt it out. He’s a terrific artist and I really like him."
Yokam and Henry weren’t alone of their reward through the night time, with every performer noting simply how Prine, the previous Chicago mailman whose eponymous debut album was launched in 1971 by Atlantic Records after being found by Kris Kristofferson, impressed their very own careers and artistry.
The Civil Wars member John Paul White, who took the reigns of Prine’s traditional "Sam Stone," likened Prine’s mastery of phrases to the language of a Yoda-like determine and recalled a narrative the place he recruited Prine to look on one his albums. "I requested him, ‘Can you play guitar on my report?’ He mentioned, ‘No one’s ever requested me to play guitar.’ I mentioned, ‘Well, you’re a hero of mine guitar-wise’ and he thought that was humorous as hell."
Ironically, among the night’s performers are competing with Prine on the Grammys, together with the Wood Brothers, whose report One Drop of Truth is nominated together with Prine in the very best Americana album class. The distinction led member Oliver Wood to joke, "We’re up in opposition to John for finest Americana album and we’re so honored to lose to him this yr." Anderson East had comparable sentiments: "When I advised John I used to be going to break one in every of his songs he mentioned, ‘You can’t do a lot worse than I do.’"
The night supplied an final look of Prine’s deeply eclectic songbook, which ranges from the heartfelt and considerate, to the sunshine and novelty. The singer Maria Muldaur famous that she requested her ‘soul sister’ Bonnie Raitt what she ought to carry out on the tribute. "Bonnie thought of it and mentioned, ‘I’ve the right music for you," Muldaur mentioned. “John has written so many deeply touching songs and this isn’t one in every of them." With that, she launched into Prine’s fluffy 1986-era observe "Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian." Don Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops went an analogous route, crooning a shiny rendition of "Please Don’t Bury Me," which outlines Prine’s needs upon his demise. (Example lyric: "Give my abdomen to Milwaukee in the event that they run out of beer/ Put my socks in a cedar field, simply to get 'em out of right here.")
Meanwhile, essentially the most heartrending parts of Prine’s catalog had been additionally on full show, with Iron and Wine delivering a haunting model of "Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow)," a lower from Prine’s 1978 album Bruised Orange. Similarly Mary Gauthier, who mentioned she’d do not know what she was doing with out Prine’s affect, carried out "Speed the Sound of Loneliness.' It’s a observe Prine recorded twice: first as a solo lower in 1986 after which once more as a duet with Nanci Griffith in 1993. Bettye Lavette, additionally up in opposition to Prine for a Grammy for finest Americana album, sang "Souvenirs" and cultivated one of many largest reactions of the night time, incomes a standing ovation.
But maybe it was Ken Paulson, the dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University, who summed up Prine the very best throughout his introductory remarks because the night started. "What we love about John Prine is that he lives the life we would like our college students to reside," Paulson defined. "We need them to be artists of integrity, we would like them to be good human beings and we would like them to take satisfaction of their music and say one thing price saying. That’s all John Prine."
As the salute on the Troubadour was wrapping up and everything of the night's performers took the stage for a rousing all-star sing-along of Prine’s "Paradise," Prine himself took the mic and his ideas in regards to the night had been temporary: "This is the very best celebration I’ve ever had."
Aside from the salute, this weekend additionally introduced the information that Sony Pictures Classics is planning a threatical launch of a documentary about Prine dubbed John Prine: Hello in There, set to give attention to Prine’s life and that includes Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell.