The outpouring of love being shown for poetic troubadour John Prine and his incredible, indelible songs has been overwhelming. Over the past two weeks, that love has manifested itself in many gorgeous, heartfelt covers. Seeing which songs are getting the spotlight, and who is providing it, has been fascinating. One of the most touching things has been hearing younger artists sharing their abiding love for Prine, a true testament to the timelessness of his songs and artistry.
Several days before Prine’s passing, one of the most acclaimed and gifted of those young artists, Adrianne Lenker of rootsy indie band Big Thief, covered a latter-day Prine classic, the elegiac “Summer’s End.” Her version is positively gripping, with the frailty and emotion in Lenker’s voice perfectly conveying the song’s powerful embrace. Both Prine’s and Lenker’s versions are absolute tearjerkers, but their innate warmth makes it feel good to just let go and let them flow.