One of today’s greats honors one of the all-time greats.
John Prine is undoubtedly one of the most influential songwriters in country music. From his witty and lighthearted songs to his more serious, tender ones, Prine championed the sound for the singer and songwriter throughout his career.
Last year, John Prine was deservingly inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame, and to honor his career, the longstanding TV music program had a few artists perform to keep his legacy alive during the honors ceremony. Performers like Tyler Childers, Allison Russell, Nathaniel Rateliff, Valerie June, Kurt Vile, and his son Tommy Prine joined Ethan Hawke on stage while the late Prine was inducted.
Tyler Childers has a stand-out performance from the evening, performing “Yes I Guess They Oughta Name a Drink After You.” Childers took this track to the studio in 2021 for the Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, Vol. 2, a tribute album to some of the great songs Prine has written in his lifetime.
So naturally, it makes sense for him to sing it on stage during his Hall of Fame induction.
“It’s an honor to be here and play a tribute to Mr. Prine. The last time I was here was 2019, as a guest, when Prine played here.
I first heard Prine in a dugout at a ball field when I was in middle school. My dad was really hoping I’d get a scholarship to go to school for baseball, and while that didn’t happen, something good came out of it, I suppose.”
Childers primes the crowd as he gets on stage, preparing to share sentiments about John Prine.
“My birthday is June 21st, the summer solstice; for anybody that doesn’t know, it’s the longest birthday of the year. It’s a whole 25 hours to myself. It’s a really good day for ice cream cake. My favorite birthday cake has always been ice cream cake.
The first time I ever played with John Prine was in Kentucky, and he heard that it was someone’s birthday in his crew, so he reached into his wallet and pulled out a Dairy Queen coupon…because that’s where you keep those. He sent someone down to the local Dairy Queen to get an ice cream cake. So, when I get to heaven, I hope to have a piece of ice cream cake with John Prine.”
The perfect nod to his song “When I Get To Heaven,” rounding out the heartfelt story of the kind person Prine was.
“I’m going to play you one of my favorite John Prine songs, also one of my favorite honky tonk songs in general.”
With that, the band kicks off the tune, and Childers is spot-on during the entire performance. With his focused face, you can see Childers dialed in on the lyrics, doing his best to make Prine proud. And I’m sure Prine smiled down on Childers as he sang the song.
The twangs in Childers’ voice follow the traditional honky tonk sound that Prine portrays in his version. The boot-tappin’ melody, accompanied by the frequent bargoer’s lyrics about a girl that broke his heart, is an all-time classic.
“Someone said that you left town I better get a double round And yes, I guess they oughta name a drink after you.”
John Prine’s legacy is still alive and well through musicians who carry out his songs like Childers. While country music misses John Prine greatly, performances like this remind us that long from forgotten.