Album Review: John Prine – The Tree Of Forgiveness

The songwriting genius John Prine is back with his first album of new originals in thirteen years. This folk veteran has a lot of soul to spill out over many simple, yet different classic fingerpicking patterns and chord progressions. The Tree Of Forgiveness is an exhibit of Prine’s fine tuned song making skills.

Knocking On Your Screen Door is the first song of the album and the first song that you will need to replay multiple times before continuing on to the next track. The song strikes a cord with any fan of upbeat, positive singer/songwriter music. The drumbeat helps drive the song and keeps the rhythm and pulse of the song entertaining. Track three Crazy Bone continues the sing-a-long, upbeat attitude. This happy energy that Prine creates makes listeners want to stay up dancing on their feet until the music stops. Prine drags listeners in with his welcoming lyrics and conversational singing voice. His singing attitude gives off the vibe that he wants to share the performance with all his listeners and party along.

The next song Summer’s End slows down the pace of the record. Prine’s genius continues to shine on this song with brilliant melody and clever rhyming. Most hardcore Prine fans can admit to his croaking ageing vocals, but his veteran folk soul makes every note just as special as his golden days.Track five Caravan Of Fools also contains a darker, slower vibe than most of the songs on the album. This song brings to mind fiery nights on set of a classic Western movie, with it’s edgy, bass toned acoustic guitar beat and gravely vocals. The Lonesome Friends Of Science may come out on top as many Prine lovers favorites of this new batch of songs. The song’s rhythm slowly begins to speed up the pace of the album again, and this marching feel contributes to the immediate likeability.

Ordinary Blue presents a return to the upbeat, fingerpicking sprightly writing style of Prine. His natural ability to continue to ring out every fiber of his soul over an acoustic strumming pattern truly warrants genuine appreciation of hard work. Prine’s soul is filled with an endless amount of guitar melodies and folky lyrics and there are no signs of stopping.

On The Tree Of Forgiveness Prine proves that it’s not about how much your voice and spirit stay young that keeps up songwriting momentum. It’s about the power of a continued focused soul seeking to create simple joyous tunes.

Scott J. Herman


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