John Prine, "Summer's End"
"Summer's End" is the first song to be released from The Tree of Forgiveness, John Prine's first LP of new material in 13 years, and it leaves no doubt that he's lost none of his gift for a lyric that is at once spare and devastating. Forgiveness is central to this rippling acoustic tune, but what exactly it's regarding is left unsaid. It's that cryptic quality that makes the fragile, beautiful ballad so transient and powerful, a fact enhanced by a guest vocal from Brandi Carlile that is positively incandescent beside Prine's gravelly plea. J.G.