The Tree of Forgiveness

The Tree of Forgiveness

by John PrineJohn Prine


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The man looking out from the cover of The Tree of Forgiveness is 71 years old and just a bit worse for wear. He clearly has his wits about him, but he probably has little use for wasting time or needless effort. He's been around the block a few times, and has some stories to tell if you're willing to sit down and listen. The man's voice is a nearly perfect match for the face: not as strong as it was in his youth, but still boasting enough spunk to make himself heard when he feels like it. The Tree of Forgiveness is John Prine's first collection of original material since 2005's Fair & Square, and in many respects it sounds casual and easygoing, as if Prine and his pals could have cut it in his living room in a few afternoons. But even when he cut his debut album in 1971, Prine never exactly sounded young, and the high mileage that's so much a part of The Tree of Forgiveness seems to suit him and these songs. The rueful tone of "Summer's End" and "I Have Met My Love Today" has been deepened by the relative fragility of Prine's instrument, and he sounds rascally when he spins tales like "Egg & Daughter Nite, Lincoln Nebraska, 1967 (Crazy Bone)" and "The Lonesome Friends of Science," engaging in lively wordplay that belies his years. And with producer Dave Cobb overseeing the sessions, The Tree of Forgiveness strikes a welcome balance between an informal guitar pull and a late-night meeting around the campfire where the volume may be low but the investment in the material is high. The Tree of Forgiveness never sounds forced, but Cobb and his crew have drawn out Prine in a way that uses his age as an asset, not a drawback. And while you can't ignore Prine's septuagenarian status on these recordings, the closer, "When I Get to Heaven," suggests he's given mortality plenty of thought and is totally at ease with it. The Tree of Forgiveness is autumnal John Prine, but it's also a potent reminder that his remarkable skills as a songwriter and his rough-hewn excellence as a singer haven't failed him yet.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/13/2018
Label: Oh Boy
UPC: 0752830513327
catalogNumber: 13327
Rank: 393


  1. Knockin' on Your Screen Door
  2. I Have Met My Love Today
  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

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Prine   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Kazoo,Theremin,Vocals,Hand Clapping
Pat McLaughlin   Mandolin,Background Vocals
John Whelan   Laughs
Jason Wilber   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Mike Webb   Piano,Mellotron,Hammond B3
Fiona Prine   Kazoo,Hand Clapping
Jason Isbell   Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Slide Guitar
Brandi Carlile   Kazoo,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Dave Cobb   Acoustic Guitar,Kazoo,12-string Guitar,Mellotron,Hand Clapping
Amanda Shires   Fiddle,Background Vocals
Josh Neumann   Kazoo,Hand Clapping
Dave Jacques   Bass
Ken Blevins   Percussion,Drums,Bass Drums,Floor Tom
Jody Whelan   Kazoo,Hand Clapping

Technical Credits

John Prine   Composer,Liner Notes
Roger Cook   Composer
Pat McLaughlin   Composer
Keith Sykes   Composer
Phil Spector   Composer
Bob Delevante   Layout
Fiona Prine   Executive Producer
Dan Auerbach   Composer
Dave Cobb   Producer
Matt Ross-Sprang   Engineer
Jody Whelan   Executive Producer

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