Forty years ago, John Prine made his Austin City Limits debut in the venerable music series’ third season. Prine has since returned to the ACL stage several times and will do so again this weekend, performing a mix of classic material and new songs from his most recent album, The Tree of Forgiveness.
An emotional highlight of the singer-songwriter’s 2018 LP is “Summer’s End,” a bittersweet tune that comes to terms not with the change of seasons, but with grief, loss and alienation. Those themes are beautifully brought to life in the track’s heart-tugging video yet need only Prine’s sage vocal delivery, on full display in the clip above, to convey their gravitas with compassion and warmth.
Also featured during Prine’s upcoming Austin City Limits appearance is a performance of his enduring “Angel From Montgomery.” Prine dedicates this latest rendition to Bonnie Raitt, whose 1974 version of the song elevated the profiles of both artists. In 2002, the pair performed the song together on the long-running music series. Other Prine chestnuts, including “Lake Marie” and “Everything Is Cool,” are featured in the episode or will be available as web exclusives.
It’s been a week of milestones for Prine as he celebrated his 72nd birthday on Wednesday and also found his name on the list for 2019’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees. On October 19th he’ll be joined by Bob Weir, Lee Ann Womack, Lucinda Williams and more for “Across the Great Divide,” a landmark concert event at L.A.’s Ace Theatre benefiting both the Americana Music Association and the Blues Foundation. Prine’s current tour runs throughout the remainder of 2018 and in early 2019 he’s set to travel to Australia and New Zealand for a series of concert dates. Tyler Childers, who will be featured on those Down Under dates, joins Prine as a special guest during this weekend’s upcoming ACL episode.
Now in its 44th season, Austin City Limits airs on PBS. Check local listings for dates and times.