Brandi Carlile took to social media to pay her respects to John Prine, singing a gentle version of the song “Summer’s End” and posting it to Instagram. The award-winning singer-songwriter died Tuesday due to complications from COVID-19 at the age of 73.
“I’m gonna miss singin’ this one with you John so tonight I’ll sing it to you,” Carlile wrote. “I know you didn’t make it home in the way we all wanted but you made it home. Put in a good word for us.”
Carlile was one of a handful of special guests including Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires to appear on Prine’s most recent studio album The Tree of Forgiveness, released in 2018. She also joined Prine onstage to sing “Summer’s End” on more than one occasion, including a rendition with Sturgill Simpson. In her solo tribute rendering, it’s a delicate song about the end of all things made all the more delicate by Carlile’s quiet guitar work and hushed delivery.
“Summer’s End” was a standout on an album full of them, as The Tree of Forgiveness marked Prine’s first album of original material in more than a decade and his highest-ever first-week sales numbers. The accompanying video was even more wrenching, depicting with characteristic empathy the toll of the opioid crisis in rural Appalachian communities.