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Arts & Culture

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS: John Prine

John Prine on AUSTIN CITY LIMITS.
Photo courtesy Austin PBS, KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits. Photo by Scott Newton
John Prine on AUSTIN CITY LIMITS.

Stream now or tune in Friday, July 9, 2021 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Available to stream with KPBS Passport!

Savor an hour-long set with songwriting legend John Prine. The veteran musician performs songs from his critically acclaimed recent album "The Tree of Forgiveness," as well as gems from his catalog.

Prine made his ACL debut on Season 3 in 1978 and returned for his eighth appearance during a banner year; he is a first-time nominee for the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and was named Artist of the Year for the second consecutive year at the 2018 Americana Honors & Awards.

John Prine Interview | AUSTIN CITY LIMITS

The 72-year old folk hero captivates with his astute songwriting in this career-spanning hour, introducing many of the songs with his unique humor and wit. Prine dazzles with his singular knack for storytelling on subjects as varied as sticking up for the dwarf planet Pluto, and the rituals of egg farmers in Lincoln, Nebraska.

He opens the show climbing "The Tree of Forgiveness" with his four-piece band, performing seven selections from the acclaimed release, before taking the stage solo for a singalong of his early career highlight “Illegal Smile,” the opening track on his self-titled 1971 debut.

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS: John Prine - “Illegal Smile”

Prine is joined by Kentucky native and rising songwriter Tyler Childers, who duets with his mentor on the musical last will and testament “Please Don’t Bury Me” from 1973’s "Sweet Revenge."

The fan favorite “Lake Marie” showcases Prine’s masterful way with words before he caps the heartfelt set with a pair of gems: new album closer “When I Get to Heaven,” and his classic “Paradise,” the final track on his ‘71 debut.

John Prine on AUSTIN CITY LIMITS "Lake Marie"

Bouncing back and forth between spoken recitation and joyful singing on “When I Get to Heaven,” the songwriter offers a good-time singalong about leaving this world on a high note.

When Prine gets to heaven, he tells the Austin crowd, “I’m gonna get a guitar and start a rock ’n’ roll band/check into a swell hotel/ain’t the afterlife grand?”

John Prine on AUSTIN CITY LIMITS "When I Get to Heaven"

"John Prine is a unicorn," says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, "a true original among American songwriters, unlike any other. What better way to celebrate his birthday week and his nomination to the Rock &Roll Hall of Fame than to show what he does best - sing the songs he wrote, old and new, to an adoring audience and with his devilish sense of humor very much intact."

John Prine setlist:

  • "Knockin' On Your Screen Door"
  • "Egg and Daughter Nite, Lincoln Nebraska, 1967" (Crazy Bone)
  • "Summer's End"
  • "Caravan Of Fools"
  • "Lonesome Friends Of Science"
  • "Boundless Love"
  • "Illegal Smile"
  • "Please Don't Bury Me" (with Tyler Childers)
  • "Lady May" (Tyler Childers solo)
  • "Lake Marie"
  • "When I Get To Heaven"
  • "Paradise" (with Tyler Childers)
John Prine on AUSTIN CITY LIMITS.
Courtesy Austin PBS, KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits. Photo by Scott Newton
John Prine on AUSTIN CITY LIMITS.

Watch On Your Schedule:

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS continues to offer its popular live streams of select performances for fans worldwide on ACL's YouTube Channel.

This episode is available for streaming online through May 17, 2020. Extend your viewing window with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members supporting KPBS at $60 or more yearly, using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

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