Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
On Tree of Forgiveness, the 71-year-old folk singer’s first album of original material in 13 years, Prine rekindles the straight-ahead, earthbound spirit that made him a songwriting icon.
With the gut-level honesty that dazzled Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson, Prine shows why he belongs with them on the legend shelf. Contributions from Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Brandi Carlile, producer Dave Cobb and others further testify to the respect Prine still commands.
Sure, some of the things he contemplates here are heavy — depression on No Ordinary Blue, his mortality on When I Get to Heaven.
But Prine’s takes are hopeful. When I Get to Heaven, the album’s raucous closer, imagines the afterlife as a place where he can order a cocktail and forgive everyone who’s ever done him wrong. It’s so joyous that listeners will think less about death than about Prine’s fun-loving take on what lies ahead.