Honoring the Grace of John Prine: Picture Show
Last night, we watched Picture Show: A Tribute to John Prine, an online special celebrating the late great songwriter and American truth-teller. Prine passed away to COVID-19 on April 7, 2020, and the music world wept.
Many well-known singers appeared and spoke of John Prine's influence on their lives and their music: Bonnie Raitt, Vince Gill, Kevin Bacon, Kasey Musgraves, and many more less known but equally talented artists, writers, poets, and visionaries. They had so much to say, and it's worth watching to hear it all.
What did they praise? Not his technical mastery, but his honesty and his kindness. And his simplicity. Both in public and in private, he was what Iris DeMent called "a great ennobler of others." According to Iris in her Rolling Stone:
"John Prine was, without a doubt, one of the greatest songwriters this world will ever know. Many people more qualified than me have written about why that is. And many more will follow. Greatest or not, here’s what it comes down to for me and here’s why he rests on my heart’s mountain top: Because he cared enough to look — at me, you, all of us — until he saw what was noble, and then he wrapped us up in melodies and sung us back to ourselves."
He gave grace. He watch, he saw, he respected, and he forgave it all. It's not easy to pick just one song to share, but on the subject of kindness and grace, here's one that sees people so clearly that it hurts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVhA01J0Zsg