By Tony Tone
The greatest songwriter of all time died on Tuesday, April 7th at 73 years young. John Prine went from delivering the mail for the USPS to filling the Grand Ole Opry with his signature sound.
When I learned of his passing, I was devastated but also angry. John died from complications from the Coronavirus. Read that again before you don’t think the current pandemic we’re living through is real. The virus took John Prine from his wife, children, and millions of fans. I hate that the death of someone like John Prine could be the reason folks finally start to practice social distancing or the simple act of hand washing.
I can take solace knowing that by pressing a button on my phone, I can access all of John’s catalog of music. Isn’t the power of music something else?
The first time I heard John’s classic “Angel from Montgomery” I was a junior in high school. My cousin, Warren, had quite the eclectic taste in music for someone his age and he was onto John Prine early. There’s nothing better than hearing a song and being instantly transported back in time.
This might be the second column I’ve written that centers around John Prine, and I’m perfectly fine with that. We need the music of John Prine now more than ever.
Maybe you’ve been listening to more music or reading or enjoying the fresh air (when it doesn’t randomly snow in April like it did today). I’ve certainly noticed more people enjoying the outdoors and the smell of barbecue in the air. If anything, we will all be much better cooks following this. Has the amount of homemade meals increased in your house?
Perhaps you’ve picked up a new hobby? A friend of mine is attempting to learn a new language. That seems a bit ambitious, but he’s also working from home and doesn’t have kids to worry about. I told him to learn a language for me while he’s at it.
The tough part during all of this is while I’m at work when I can see the fear in people’s eyes. I want to tell them, “it’s okay,” or, “I’m here for you,” but it never seems like the right time. Instead, I try and give an empathetic look, but it doesn’t seem like enough.
What would John Prine do? I imagine he would write a song capturing this moment and encourage us to find the light in the darkness. I’ll keep doing my best to navigate the next few weeks with optimism and I’ll lean on songs from people like John Prine to help carry on. Take care, remember to breathe, and let’s get this over with!
Rest in Peace Mr. John Prine, and thank you for making the world a better place.