John Prine’s influence spreads far beyond just country music, but of course, his passing back in 2020 was felt the especially hard in the country music community.
Everybody from Bruce Springsteen and Jason Isbell, to Miranda Lambert, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves and more have shared their devastation over John’s death. Even Bob Dylan called him one of his favorite songwriters of all time.
A while back, another big John Prine fan (and great lyricist in his own right), recalled the the first time ever heard a John Prine song.
As an 8th grader, Tyler Childers was in the dugout before a little league baseball game when heard “Please Don’t Bury Me,” and from that point on… he was hooked.
Tyler also detailed where John’s influence shows up in his own music:
“It shows up a lot in the lyrics I would say. I’ve spent a lot of time admiring John Prine and his way with words… it doesn’t have to be big $100 dollar words to put you right there and be like ‘oh I know that dude, I live down he road from that guy, I know that feeling, I’ve felt that before’… he’s got a way with words.”
You can just hear the admiration in his voice.
And even the way he recalls where he was the first time heard John, almost as if he’s describing his own grandfather, you can immediately get a feel for how important his music has been to Tyler over the years.
Back in 2018, Tyler and John shared the stage for a performance of “Paradise.”
And then in 2021, he recorded a cover of John Prine’s “Yes I Guess They Oughta Name A Drink After You.”
Written and recorded by John for his 1972 sophomore album Diamonds In The Rough, “Yes I Guess They Oughta Name A Drink After You” is a uniquely written tear in your beer kind of tune in the same vein as an old Hank Williams song.
But there isn’t a chorus… and against the advice of others, that was the way John wanted it:
“I was going for a Hank Williams kind of song.
Steve Goodman always told me that if I’d taken another couple of minutes and put a chorus to the song – there isn’t any, just a tag line to every verse – that it would have been a hit country song.
And I was set in my ways. Once a song was done, it was done.”