Americana singer-songwriter John Prine passed away tonight at age 73 from complications from the coronavirus.
Prine got his start with help from another singer-songwriter — Kris Kristofferson — and said their meeting and Prine’s early success were a “Cinderella story.”
A member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, his songs have been covered by many artists including Miranda Lambert (“That’s the Way the World Goes Round”), Bonnie Rait (“Angel from Montgomery)”, Don Williams (“Love Is on a Roll”), George Strait (“I Just Want To Dance With You”) and the late Johnny Cash (“Sam Stone”). He was also the uncredited writer on David Allan Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me By My Name.”
In 1998, Prine had a cancerous tumor on his throat removed that deepened his voice.
“I think it improved my voice, if anything. I always had a hard time listening to my singing before my surgery,” he told Terry Gross at NPR. In 2018, he was named Artist of the Year by the Americana Music Association and last year his The Tree of Forgiveness won Album of the Year.
Martin Fischer, executive producer for the Americana Music Awards, worked with Prine on that show for several years.
“I was struck by the quiet wisdom of this man,” Fischer said. “On many occasions, I would find myself leaning in when he was nearby, and always came away awed by the humbleness of this gentle giant. His amazing gift of capturing the dreams and heartaches of the common man in his songwriting will be immeasurably missed. Rest in Peace, John.”
Evan Haiman, Circle’s SVP of Content, was a producer on several shows featuring Prine.
“John Prine was the face of Americana Music,” Haiman said. “As one of America’s greatest lyricists, he chronicled the trials and tribulations of the working man. It was an honor to work on television productions from Stagecoach Music Fest to the Tribute to Levon Helm with him. A true music icon whose words will sorely be missed.”
Prine is survived by his wife Fiona and three sons.