John Prine

Windsor Star - - YOU -

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.

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