John Prine talks about his new album that comes out April 13
Larry McCormack / The Tennessean
The legendary Nashville singer-songwriter is nominated for three awards at Sunday’s ceremony in Los Angeles. His acclaimed album “The Tree of Forgiveness” is up for best Americana album, and two songs from that project are nominated for best American roots song.
Prine, 72, was surprised by “Tree’s” glowing reception, but he’s a fan of the finished product, too.
“This record came out so good,” he said to The Tennessean. “(Producer) Dave Cobb would just put a dab here and a dab there. It was really nice. I was happy to have a record out, you know? But when it hit, and we started getting all of this love, it was a little unsettling at first, because I didn’t expect it. I’ve just been trying to keep up with it.”
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And there are plenty of “Tree” contributors that Prine can pass that love on to. He wrote both nominated songs — “Summer’s End” and “Knockin’ On Your Screen Door” — with longtime collaborator Pat McLaughlin.
“We had a bunch of co-writers,” Prine said, giving credit to McLaughlin, Dan Auerbach, Keith Sykes, Roger Cook and Dave Ferguson.
“I’m not used to that.”
That might make Prine’s 2019 Grammy trip a less solitary experience than it’s typically been. In addition to his best new artist nod in 1973 (folk-rockers America won that year), he’s been nominated seven times for best contemporary folk album, and won twice in 1992 and 2006.
In that time, he’s determined that the best place to watch the Grammy’s televised portion is on TV back at the hotel. One year, he stuck around for the big show and ended up “in the fourth balcony with one of the guys from Megadeth’s grandmother. And they lost that year, too.”
He’ll get far better treatment this year. On Saturday, the Americana Music Association will present a pre-Grammy tribute to Prine at the famed Troubadour in West Hollywood.
A few weeks later, he’ll be back to playing shows of his own for the rest of the year, including stints in Australia and Europe, an overdue return to Bonnaroo and his own sold-out All the Best Fest in the Dominican Republic, with Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves and many more.
The demand for Prine might be at an all-time high, and thanks to that, “The Tree of Forgiveness” probably won’t be his swan song.
“I don’t think they’re gonna let me not make another record,” he says with a grin. “So I guess there’ll be at least one more.”
Grammy-nominated artists Margo Price, John Prine and Mary Gauthier discuss the impact of the federal government shutdown on TSA workers and the Coast Guard. (Jan. 25)
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