The awards were accepted by Prine’s wife and three sons
By Teppei, Contributor
John Prine, an accomplished and praised folk singer-songwriter, won in the American roots song and American roots performance categories at the 63rd Grammy Awards ceremony for his last recorded song, “I Remember Everything.”
The acclaimed American artist passed away at 73 years old last April 7 due to COVID-19 complications. His song “I Remember Everything” was released two months after his death.
Prine had won three Grammy awards previously; his albums The Missing Years and Fair & Square won in the contemporary folk album category in 1991 and 2005, respectively. In 2020, a couple of months prior to his death, he was honored with a lifetime achievement award.
This year, the award was accepted by Prine’s wife Fiona Whelan Prine, surrounded by the couple’s three sons from their home in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I Remember Everything” was cowritten by Prine and Pat McLaughlin, and recorded by producer Dave Cobb, who did an immaculate job, opting to keep the song in its simplest form with nothing but Prine’s voice and guitar, instead of over-arranging it with strings or percussion.
Brandi Carlile, another Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter performed “I Remember Everything” during the ceremony; she was Prine’s long-time admirer and friend. A couple of years ago, while Prine was recording his last album The Tree of Forgiveness in Nashville with Cobb, Carlile was working on her sixth album By the Way, I Forgive You, which was also co-produced by Cobb. Carlile ended up recording vocals in three of Prine’s album’s songs.
Carlile has recorded her own version of the song which will be featured in the Prine tribute album Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, Vol 2. The album will be released on Oh Boy Records, Prine’s own independent record label.
There is a very wide variety of subjects in Prine’s songs. He has songs like “Sam Stone,” which he wrote after being drafted into the Army in the late ’60s and talks about a war veteran. In “Angel from Montgomery,” Prine sings in first person as a middle-aged woman whose life has become quite dull and is looking for something to give it meaning. “In Spite of Ourselves” is a duet he recorded with Iris DeMent about a very ordinary couple full of imperfections but perfect for each other. The song has funny and silly lines about each other’s flaws, which they have learned to not only tolerate, but to love.
Amongst the dozens of songs Prine wrote throughout his career, there could not have been a more poetic one to be his last one ever written than “I Remember Everything.”
“[…] I’ve been down this road before / Alone as I can be / Careful not to let my past / Go sneaking up on me / Got no future in my happiness / Though regrets are very few / Sometimes a little tenderness / Was the best that I could do […]”
John Prine may have found a perfect way to say goodbye, but his songs will remain with us forever.