John Prine made eight separate appearances on Austin City Limits over the course of his career. On Saturday, new episodes of the long-running live-music series return with a show devoted to Prine’s posthumous induction into the ACL Hall of Fame.
Ethan Hawke inducts Prine in a hat-tipping speech but it’s the performances from artists like Tyler Childers, Valerie June, Nathaniel Rateliff, Allison Russell, Kurt Vile, and Prine’s son, Tommy Prine, that make the hour such a moving tribute. Childers’ reading of “Yes I Guess They Oughta Name a Drink After You” is full of charm, and he prefaces it with a humorous speech about Dairy Queen ice cream cakes and Prine.
Childers returns later for the all-star finale — an appropriately rousing singalong of “Paradise” delivered by June, Rateliff, Russell, Vile, and Prine. The songwriter’s induction into the ACL Hall was originally set to happen a few years ago; Prine died from complications of Covid-19 in 2020.
“We had planned to induct John into the ACL Hall of Fame in 2020, before he tragically became an early victim of the Covid pandemic,” Terry Lickona, ACL executive producer, said in a statement. “There were many well-deserved tributes at the time, but this year finally felt like the right moment to recognize his long history with ACL. Working closely with John’s family, we created a special celebration of his impact on singers and songwriters across so many genres.”
The John Prine celebration episode premieres Saturday, Jan. 13, at 8 p.m./ET on PBS and will stream online starting Jan. 14. Along with Prine, the ACL Hall of Fame also inducted Trisha Yearwood last year. Her episode airs March 2.
Music Country – Rolling Stone