John Prine’s latest is among his best


On his first album of new songs in over 13 years, John Prine’s new songs on The Tree of Forgiveness are presented with ragged simplicity and homey cheer. Then the veteran tunesmith moves to songs of stark resolve. But, just as you think his world has gone off the cliff, Prine ends the record with a mediation on mortality that makes heaven sound like a New Orleans second line.

The Tree of Forgiveness enlists the help of Dave Cobb, who has been Prine’s producer of choice for his recent projects.

Prine and Cobb keep things simple, even when friends like Jason Isbell and Brandi Carlile, join the sessions. Their contributions provide attractive color, but Prine has never needed supporting help. His stories are succinct, Prine keeps his songs focused on lyrics of worldliness with folklike melodies.

Prine co-wrote 8 of the 10 songs, several with Pat McLaughlin.

It is great to have this solid record from Prine, since he has been hobbled with health concerns the last few years.  The Tree of Forgiveness is John Prine’s first album of original songs since Fair and Square in 2005.

  1. Knockin’ on Your Screen Door (Pat McLaughlin, John Prine)
  2. I Have Met My Love Today (Roger Cook, John Prine)
  3. Egg & Daughter Nite, Lincoln Nebraska, 1967 (Pat McLaughlin, John Prine)
  4. Summer’s End (Pat McLaughlin, John Prine)
  5. Caravan of Fools (Dan Auerbach, Pat McLaughlin, John Prine)
  6. The Lonesome Friends of Science (John Prine)
  7. No Ordinary Blue (John Prine, Keith Sykes)
  8. Boundless Love (Dan Auerbach, Pat McLaughlin, John Prine)
  9. God Only Knows (John Prine, Phil Spector)
  10. When I Get to Heaven (John Prine)

To purchase



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