John Prine, a musician famous for his unique ability to capture the heart of Americana in his lyrics, passed away this Tuesday as the result of complications from COVID-19. This news comes a week after the announcement that his condition had worsened to the point where he was subsistent on a ventilator to breathe.
Prine burst onto the music scene at the beginning of the 1970’s after being “discovered” by Kris Kristofferson and Roger Ebert, resulting in the production of his first album. Eponymously dubbed John Prine, it featured writing from the perspective of seasoned elder, despite their creator only being a 25 year-old mailman at the time. Songs from it such as Angel From Montgomery and Hello In There tell nostalgic stories of years gone by and remain staples in the history of American songwriting.
Despite two bouts with cancer, Prine continued making award winning music, maintaining his folky charm even as his voice turned gravelly as a result. His last full length album, The Tree of Forgiveness, released in 2018 and was as sharp and critically acclaimed as his first.
News of Prine’s passing has resulted in an outpouring of condolences from fans and contemporaries, including numerous tributes to his extensive discography. One such video produced for NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concert” features 5 separate artists performing the songs that had the most profound impact on them.
Prine is survived by his two children, Tommy and Jack, and his wife Fiona.