Album Of The Week: John Prine’s ‘The Tree Of Forgiveness’

The Tree Of Forgiveness
John Prine shines on his new album, The Tree Of Forgiveness, our Album Of The Week.
The Tree Of Forgiveness 

The Tree Of Forgiveness is The Colorado Sound Album Of The Week. 

In under 33 minutes, John Prine has made a late-career statement with this new album, out Friday on Prine’s own label, Oh Boy. Classically Prine, his new songs cull the depths of Americana and broach subject matter from the reflective to the purely whimsical. It’s his first recording of original songs since 2005’s Fair & Square.

Things get off to a very Prine-like start; the songwriter announces his comeback with the frolicking “Knocking On Your Screen Door”. 

Best to let him in. For much of The Tree Of Forgiveness we get a lesson in troubadour-ing, reclaiming the past, and paving new terrain on borrowed time, like on “I Have Met My Love Today”, a Dylan-esque waltz right from Dylan’s Freewheelin’ sessions. 

Prine is a wordsmith like few others, taking on his fate with deadpan humor. On “Egg & Daughter Nite, Lincoln Nebraska, 1967 (Crazy Bone)”, not only does Prine rhyme Alaska with Nebraska and get run out of Lincoln for what he’s thinkin’, he’s already got his epitath: “blame it on that old crazy bone.”

“Summer’s End” might be the standout on the whole album, and right at the top of Prine’s entire catalog. “Summer’s End” is surely a life-affirming song for Prine, who has been fighting cancer since 2005. “Come on home, you don’t have to be alone,” he whisper-sings over the hush of what could very well be the sound of summer ending – a plucked six string, a fading mellotron.

Summer’s End tracklist:
  1. Knockin’ On Your Screen Door
  2. I Have Met My Love Today (ft. Brandi Carlile)
  3. Egg & Daughter Nite, Lincoln Nebraska, 1967 (Crazy Bone)
  4. Summer’s End
  5. Caravan of Fools
  6. The Lonesome Friends of Science
  7. No Ordinary Blue
  8. Boundless Love
  9. God Only Knows
  10. When I Get to Heaven

Prine will be playing three Colorado shows later this year. Two of the shows, November 7 at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge and Novemeber 8 at the Avalon Theatre in Grand Junction, are sold out. There are still tickets available for his November 10 appearance at Buell Theatre, with Nathaniel Rateliff.