Watch Jeff Tweedy, Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines, Lukas Nelson, and more cover John Prine

Illustration for article titled Watch Jeff Tweedy, Dixie Chicks Natalie Maines, Lukas Nelson, and more cover John Prine
Photo: Erika Goldring (Getty Images)

Legendary songwriter John Prine died on Tuesday at the age of 73 due to complications from COVID-19, resulting in an outpouring of grief and remembrances from the artist’s fans and collaborators.

Bruce Springsteen, for example, said he was “crushed” on Tuesday night. “John and I were ‘New Dylans’ together in the early 70s and he was never anything but the loveliest guy in the world,” he wrote. “A true national treasure and a songwriter for the ages.” Carole King lamented the loss of “a great songwriter.” Cat Stevens, Sheryl Crow, The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, among many others, also weighed in with kind words.

Other artists are taking their tributes a step further, sharing covers of cuts from the artist’s deep catalog that help demonstrate his impact on their own creative voices. Some of them have dropped in the hours since his death was announced, while others first emerged after he was first hospitalized on March 26.

We’ve collected a handful of them here.

Advertisement

“My kids got introduced to John Prine tonight and helped me do a tribute,” the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines wrote on Instagram late on Tuesday night. As the singer strums and cycles through the poetic melancholy of “Angel From Montgomery,” her sons join her on guitar and mandolin for a sweet, emotive cover.

Advertisement

Last week, Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker shared her take on “Summer’s End” from 2018's The Tree Of Forgiveness, and on Tuesday night she returned with another cover, this time of “Far From Me,” a song Prine has said is his personal favorite.

In a caption, Lenker wrote:

rest and fly peacefully, john prine. you will live on a long time and powerfully through your songs. you are one of my all time greatest musical heroes. I have always admired how your words can be all at once so melancholic and poignant and full of humor. sometimes you express the hardest most complicated feelings in the smallest amount of words, and both the literal and metaphorical meanings are so rich. I have learned so much through listening to you and I will continue to do so. Thank you for the gifts you have left here for us. “A question ain’t really a question, if you know the answer too.” now I guess you can know the answer to the biggest question of all.

Advertisement

County star Colter Wall shared this cover of “How Lucky Can One Man Get” from 1979's Pink Cadillac while Prine was still in the hospital. Wall called Prine one of his heroes in the accompanying post, which is evident from his history with the singer. Here’s him taking on “Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness,” and here’s him joining Prine onstage in 2018.

Advertisement

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy honored Prine during his nighty Instagram Live stream on Tuesday, playing “Please Don’t Bury Me” from Prine’s 1973 album, Sweet Revenge. “Probably a little bit inappropriate, but celebratory as well, I hope,” Tweedy cracked. His sons, Spencer and Sammy, joined in with some backing vocals.

Advertisement

During a livestream of his own, The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy shared his own version of “Angel From Montgomery” after he heard Prine was in the hospital. Just hearing Meloy wrap his mouth around Prine’s vivid words is proof enough of just how much the songwriter influenced Meloy’s own literary, wryly funny lyrical style.

Meloy also tweeted out a tribute on Tuesday:

Advertisement

Last week, songwriter Kevin Morby teamed up with Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield also had a go at “Angel From Montgomery.” Previously, the pair paid tribute to another late, beloved songwriter in Jason Molina.

Advertisement

Joan Baez, a folk icon and contemporary of Prine’s, shared her cover of 1971's “Hello In There,” a song she first recorded back in 1975. “John, this song I’ve sung of yours has been one of the most requested songs in my repertoire for over 40 years,” she says,so let me sing it to you, along with my best wishes and prayers.”

Advertisement

Lukas Nelson, Promise of the Real singer and son of Willie Nelson, shared a cover of “Hello In There” last week during a Quarantunes Evening Session.

In an Instagram post on Tuesday, he wrote, “We are heartbroken to hear about the passing of John Prine. His life and music will be celebrated by us as long as we are able .. we send prayers and condolences to his family at this time.”

Advertisement

Nashville songwriter Todd Snider credits his entire career to Prine, who signed him to his label and took him on the road after Snider worked for him as a runner. In a recent stream, he covered some deep cuts in 1978's “Crooked Piece of Time” and “Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow).”

Advertisement

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.