AmericanaFest 2021: Musical tribute to John Prine

Elles Bailey

Musical legend and stalwart John Prine sadly passed away in April 2020. Ralph McLean reminisced and raised a glass to the man then, the tribute event began.

Billy Bragg’s cover of Fish and Whistle was sensitive and heartfelt. In the enforced absence of ‘pedal steel guy’ CJ Hillman, Bragg accompanied himself on resonator.

“Billy open tuned on a resonator? That Hillman boy has a lot to answer for.” – Paddy Nash

Ida Mae reminisced about discovering Prine 10 years ago, finding that he fit in alongside devouring modern American literature like Kerouac due to Prine’s “beer swilling, giggling humour and his rock ‘n’ roll approach.” They sang a deep cut from Prine’s debut album and infused it with blues rock swagger.

“This is great love that electric piano sound, mean & dirty. 🎸🎹🔥” – Robert Clive Little

2020 AMA-UK award winner Elles Bailey launched straight into a sweet meditation on I Remember Everything.

“Something in me eye again.” – Paddy Nash

Ben Glover and Joshua Britt of Orphan Brigade performed Lake Marie. Glover spoke eloquently how he discovered Prine: “”the same guy told me I should be listening to Bob Dylan told me I should be listening to John Prine as well…there’s no better storyteller…on the surface they seem so simple…[but] they are full of deep compassion for the human condition.”

“Damn. The tears have started already!” – Ken Beveridge
“🤯❤️” – Danny George Wilson

Robert Vincent gave a considered, introspective rendition of Sam Stone.

“This is super lovely” – Baylen Leonard

Last year’s Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award winners Ferris and Sylvester were thrilled to perform In Spite of Ourselves. Issy Ferris reminisced about listening to John Prine records as a child with her father.

“Perfect” – Gill Tee

Multi-award winner Danny George Wilson collabed with Hannah White and Kieron Marshall for Long Monday.

“Sounds gorgeous 😍” – Joanne Chapman

Emily Barker and Lukas Drinkwater performed an apt song for the times, Hello In There.

“Aw so good to see all these lovely familiar faces. This is my all time favourite JP song. In bits. Gorgeous Emily and Lukas x” – The Remedy Club

John’s sons, Jack and Tommy Prine, delivered a perfect tribute: Mr Peabody’s Coal Train Back To Take It Away, where they sang directly to ‘daddy.’

“Stunning. How incredible.” – Jude Coombe