Yesterday, we learned the upsetting news that the great singer-songwriter John Prine was in critical condition, being treated for COVID-19. Today, Prine’s wife Fiona — who herself is recovering from coronavirus — tweeted that Prine is “stable.” She also thanked Prine’s fans and well-wishers for the public outpouring love and wrote, “Sing his songs.” A whole lot people are doing exactly that.
Earlier today, we posted a video Joan Baez playing “Hello In There,” a John Prine song that she first covered in 1975. Now another admirer Prine has shared video herself singing one Prine’s songs. Adrianne Lenker, leader the great indie band Big Thief, has posted a home-recorded video herself doing a solo-acoustic take on “Summer’s End,” a song from Prine’s most recent album The Tree Of Forgiveness. That LP, released in 2018, was Prine’s first in 13 years. “Summer’s End” is a bittersweet song about love, and Prine has said that it’s his response to the opioid crisis.
Lenker’s version “Summer’s End” is st and empathetic. There’s part near the end where she just stops and lets out a deep sigh, and it’s like: Yes. Exactly. (I don’t know if Lenker recorded it before learning that Prine was recovering, but judging by that sigh, I’m guessing no.) Along with the video, Lenker wrote, “I’m beyond grateful for the gift his songs, sending love to his whole family.” Watch the video below.