New Work from Veteran Folkies John Prine and Tom Rush, Plus Don Gibson and More

By Jeff Burger

Tree of ForgivenessJohn Prine Returns with a Gem

John Prine’s The Tree of Forgiveness is his first collection of fresh material since 2005’s Grammy-winning Fair and Square. That means fans have endured a 13-year wait, but it was worth every minute, because the new album is a gem.

It’s hard to put your finger on just how Prine works his magic. Though he certainly knows how to turn a phrase, there are few fancy metaphors in his lyrics; his folksy vocals, which seem effortless, have more power than you might expect from such an understated, gravelly voiced singer; his melodies and instrumentation are simple and straightforward; and Nashville producer Dave Cobb keeps studio embellishments to a minimum, appearing to focus largely on just letting Prine be Prine.

Perhaps part of the secret behind the artist’s appeal is contained in his recent answer to Rolling Stone’s Patrick Doyle, who asked Prine…

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