The Late John Prine’s 76 Birthday Celebrated by All-Star Ensemble at The Ryman Auditorium

October 11, 2022
The Late John Prine’s 76 Birthday Celebrated by All-Star Ensemble at The Ryman Auditorium

Photo by Dean Budnick

Two years, six months and three days after his death, one of America’s most celebrated songwriters, John Prine, had his life celebrated on what would have been his 76 birthday at the Ryman Auditorium in his home city of Nashville, Tenn. The tribute concert featured some of the most renowned musicians in the country, all of whom were, without a doubt, inspired by his life’s work.

Monday night’s gathering was a part of a weeklong celebration for Prine billed as You Got Gold Celebrating the Life & Songs of John Prine, which included six sold-out shows throughout The Music City hosted by his family and independent label, Oh Boy Records.

The performance at the Ryman Auditorium had a surprise lineup, and those familiar with the city and Prine’s life knew the show coinciding on his birthday and at one of Nashville’s most respected institutions would host some of the best. Despite that foresight, almost all were sure to have been elated by a lineup featuring Brandi Carlile & Lucius, Chris Isaak & Nicole Atkins, Bob Weir, Nathaniel Rateliff, Tyler Childers and more, who performed stilling renditions from Prine’s discography, evoking tears, cheers, and dancing to a sold-out crowd among the pews of the historic venue.

The show was opened by Prine’s wife, Fiona Whelan, who thanked everyone for being there before welcoming Carlile & Lucius to perform a stunning interoperation of Prine’s last song, “I Remember Everything.” From there, over the course of two hours, the lineup of renowned musicians shared their own personal connections with Prine’s five-decade career. Some stayed true to Prine’s studio recordings, like Chris Isaak & Nicole Atkins, who performed a true-to-form rendition of “I Have Met My Love Today,” and Hiss Golden Messenger shared 1990’s “Picture Show.”

Others took a more personal approach putting their own spin on Prine’s iconic catalog, like Nathaniel Rateliff, who howled on “Sam Stone,” Tyler Childers’ country version of”I Guess They Ought To Name A Drink After You,” and Bob Weir and & Ramblin’ Jack Elliott who played a stretched out jam of “Great Rain.”

Other artists like Kacey Musgraves and Lucinda Williams debuted originals inspired by Prine; Musgraves shared that her new song “Walk In Peace” was born from Prine’s spirit, which came to her and said the song’s title and Williams’ song detailed wine-fueled songwriting sessions with Prine.

Throughout the evening, the musicians continued to stay true to the wit, humor and excellence Prine established and maintained throughout his life and career. Towards the tail end of the evening, Dwight Yoakam cascaded a lively honky-tonk rendition of “Spanish Pipedream” before Prine’s son Tommy Prine joined Yoakam on stage to lead the congregation through “Happy Birthday.” To close the night, all the artists joined on stage for a cover of Prine’s beloved and iconic song “Paradise.” See the full setlist below.

Various Artists, You Got Gold Celebrating the Life & Songs of John Prine 2022
The Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, Tenn.
Oct. 10, 2022

Brandi Carlile & Lucius: I Remember Everything (John Prine cover) (acoustic)
Chris Isaak & Nicole Atkins: I Have Met My Love Today (John Prine cover) (with John Prine’s band)
Hiss Golden Messenger: Picture Show (John Prine cover) (with John Prine’s band)
Allison Russell & JT Nero: Everything Is Cool (John Prine cover) (with John Prine’s band)
Jason Isbell: Souvenirs (John Prine cover) (with John Prine’s band)
I’m With Her: Unwed Fathers (John Prine cover) (acoustic)
The War and Treaty: Knockin’ On Your Screen Door (John Prine cover) (acoustic)
Nathaniel Rateliff: Sam Stone (John Prine cover) (with John Prine’s band) 
Shawn Camp: The Last Love Song (Shawn Camp cover) (live debut, unreleased song)
Leyla McCalla: Summer’s End (John Prine cover) (with John Prine’s band)
Margo Price: Sweet Revenge (John Prine cover) (with John Prine’s band)
Tyler Childers: Yes I Guess They Oughta Name a Drink After You (John Prine cover) (with John Prine’s band)
The Milk Carton Kids: Storm Windows (John Prine cover) (acoustic)
Kacey Musgraves: Walk In Peace (Kacey Musgraves cover) (live debut, unreleased song, acoustic)
Lucinda Williams: What Could Go Wrong (Lucinda Williams cover) (live debut, unreleased song)
Bonnie Raitt & Brandi Carlile: Angel From Montgomery (John Prine cover) (with John Prine’s band)
Lyle Lovett: That’s the Way That the World Goes ‘Round (John Prine cover) (with John Prine’s band)
Bob Weir & Ramblin’ Jack Elliott: Great Rain (John Prine cover) (with John Prine’s band)
Dwight Yoakam: Spanish Pipedream (John Prine cover) (with John Prine’s band), Happy Birthday to You (Mildred J. Hill & Patty Hill cover) (led by Tommy Prine)
All performers plus Tre Burt and Fiona Prine: Paradise (John Prine cover)