Jason Isbell + Amanda Shires Honor John Prine With Covers, Personal Stories During Livestream Performance [WATCH]
Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires honored their good friend and fellow musician John Prine during a livestream performance on Wednesday (April 8). Together with Shires' manager, Kelly Garcia Plemmons, and her guitarist, Seth Plemmons, they covered Prine's songs and shared personal stories about the man they admired, knew and loved.
Isbell and Shires' set -- an installment of Shires' I So Lounging livestream series, begun while much of the United States is quarantining to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) -- began with a cover of "Angel From Montgomery," a song from Prine's self-titled debut album that was famously covered by Bonnie Raitt. They also performed Prine's "Illegal Smile" and "Clocks and Spoons," the latter of which Shires and Isbell say they often sing to their daughter, Mercy.
Shires toured with Prine while she was pregnant with Mercy, who will turn five in September. "She heard him sing the whole time," Shires recalls, and "Clocks and Spoons," in particular, would calm her down when she was a baby. The family called Prine "Uncy John," as that was Mercy's name for him.
In between songs, Shires and Isbell also recalled their first meeting with Prine. "We were fast friends, all three of us," Isbell shared.
"His crowd was wonderful to me," Isbell remembered of opening for Prine. "I never, ever in my life opened for somebody whose audience was so generous and wanted to hear my music so much."
Prine died on Tuesday (April 7), at the age of 73, after contracting the coronavirus. He had been hospitalized since March 26.
"John is the same person offstage that he is onstage. I know that," Shires once told the Bitter Southerner. "He drives himself, and sometimes he’ll cut a doughnut or do some illegal U-turns, but that’s his right."
In the same story, Prine's wife Fiona recalls his excitement at first hearing Isbell's music. When Isbell released his first solo album, "John came home one day, handed me the record, and said, 'Hey, get in the car and go take a drive and listen to this.'
"I was like, 'But I’m making dinner.' And he said, 'Just do it now, you need to hear this.' That’s how impressed he was with the writing," she adds. "It was really exciting for John to find someone like Jason, because it had been over 30 years before he had heard that sort of writing."
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