On the Cayamo: Journey Through Song cruise cruise back in 2015, Kacey and the late, great John Prine played a special acoustic show for some of the fans on board, where Kacey also played them an unreleased song called “Burn One with John Prine.”
And John talked a little bit about where the inspiration for the song came from, after Kacey first met him at his annual Christmas party in Nashville and tried to convince him to go get high with her in the parking lot:
“Let’s see, don’t know how many years ago, about six or seven… I do this annual Christmas party in Nashville. We don’t raise money for anything, we just raise money for beer, everybody just kinda kicks off the Christmas season.
And I was getting ready to do ‘The Whole Damn Family’ one December, and this little girl comes up to me with her buddy, and they wanted to take me out to the parking lot and get me high.’nAnd I said, gee thanks, but no thanks.’ We had to get ‘The Whole Damn Family’ going.
We had our picture taken together, and next thing I know, I’m over at my record label Oh Boy Records and I hear a tape, and it’s Kacey singing this song about how she’d like to burn one with John Prine.”
Kacey added that, while she wasn’t able to get high with John that night, she kept hope alive and turned it into a clever little tune that he eventually heard and loved:
“So I wasn’t successful in my quest, but here I am, so I guess that means something…
So we were running through songs yesterday, and he said, ‘Hey, what about that song ‘John Prine,’ you gonna do it?’ And I was like, ‘No, I didn’t write it thinking I’d be sittin’ next to the guy the topic was about!’
As John and the audience laughed at her response, he jokingly added that he couldn’t quite put his finger on what made the song so special:
“I can’t figure out what I like so much about that song!”
It’s obviously a clever little tune about her dreams to “burn one with John Prine” as is evidenced by the title, but also speaks to her admiration of him as an artist and how much he inspired her as a songwriter during her early days in the music business:
“But you’ve gotta forgive me if I start crying, I’ll try not to. But yeah, this is one of the first songs I wrote when I moved to Nashville, and I was honestly listening to a lot of his music.
A friend turned me on and said you’ve gotta hear this guy named John Prine, and I just fell in love with it, and so he’s been a huge inspiration.”
It’s so sweet to see the camaraderie between these two artists, and you can tell how much it means to John to hear Kacey sing this song for him just by the expression on his face during her performance.
And for all you Kacey fan-girls out there like me, this is actually the first time we got to hear that great line, “My grandma cried when I pierced my nose,” that eventually found it’s way onto “Slow Burn” from her 2018 Grammy-winning Golden Hour record.
The chorus alone is a shining example of her songwriting chops and what a unique style she’s always had:
“‘Cause I ain’t one to knock religion Though it’s always knockin’ me Always runnin’ with the wrong crowd Right where I want to be And I ain’t good at being careful I just say what’s on my mind Like my idea of heaven Is to burn one with John Prine”
Seriously, whether it’s country or not, I need this to be on Kacey’s next studio album…
She also performed the song at a special New Years Eve show at the Grand Ole Opry years back: