Singer-songwriter Returns with First Record of New Material in 13 Years
Legendary singer-songwriter John Prine is set to release his first album of new material in 13 years on April 13. He made the new record, The Tree of Forgiveness, at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A with current golden-touch producer Dave Cobb, who’s helmed the most recent work of Americana heroes Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell. Through a career that has spanned the better part of five decades, Prine has remained a beloved tunesmith for his heartfelt and witty blue-collar story songs, but he’s enjoyed a particular resurgence lately, due to being celebrated by younger artists. Prine helped Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys write songs for his last solo record, and during his set at last summer’s Newport Folk Festival, Prine was joined by an all-star cast that included Margo Price, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James.
It’s no surprise, then, that special guests were willing to help Prine with his new record. Auerbach returned the favor and helped write two songs, and there are appearances by Isbell and his wife, singer-songwriter and fiddler Amanda Shires. The first unveiled single, “Summer’s End,” is a wistful ballad that features gentle harmony backing vocals from Brandi Carlile. In total the album features 10 new tracks, half of which were co-written with Nashville song scribe Pat McLaughlin, who’s frequently joined Prine on the road.
Now 71, Prine will support the new album with one of his longest tours in years. As he covers most of the country through December, he’ll make multiple stops in the Blue Ridge region: May 11 at Beaver Dam Amphitheater in Beaver Dam, Ky. (with Tyler Childers), June 1 at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va. (with Price), July 14 at the Master Musicians Festival in Somerset, Ky., and October 3 at the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville, Tenn. (with Kelsey Waldon).