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One Of John Prine’s Last Recordings Was A Cover Of John Anderson’s “1959”

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John Prine boasted a career that spanned over five decades. He had been working right until his death in 2020 from COVID-19 complications. Though he has been gone for two years, fans can still look forward to new projects by Prine. This is possible thanks to the album Something Borrowed, Something New: A Tribute to John Anderson, which features some of the last recordings Prine ever made.

Released on August 5, the album has generated a lot of excitement, but one track, in particular, has been getting a lot of praise: Prine’s cover of Anderson’s song “1959.” The album features other artists covering different Anderson songs and has notes on the exciting circumstances behind recruiting Prine.

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Fans can hear a new, final recording by John Prine covering John Anderson

Something Borrowed, Something New: A Tribute to John Anderson / Amazon

Something Borrowed, Something New: A Tribute to John Anderson features several artists covering Anderson songs; some include Luke Combs, Brothers Osborne, Tyler Childers, Eric Church, Sierra Ferrell, and Brent Cobb. The album was produced by veteran producers David Ferguson and Dan Auerbach, who also worked with Anderson for Years. An album note by Auerbach details how they got Prine on board.

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“[John Prine] immediately said yes when we asked, and we set it up for the next week,” he said. “He loved John Anderson. It just felt like an amazing way to open the record because it’s so plaintive at the very beginning. The whole idea of a tribute is about looking back and appreciating. And to hear John Prine sing ‘Baby I’m yours / I’ll love you always / I’m gonna stand by you until the end of time’ felt like a really nice way of saying goodbye to our buddy.”

It means just as much to Anderson as it does for fans

The late John Prine was a fan of John Anderson / Flickr

Anderson’s career began not long after Prine’s, in 1974, and since then he has charted over 40 singles on the Billboard country music charts. But it was the mention of Prine that excited Anderson. “I remember when [producers Dan and David] mentioned John Prine, I said, ‘I need to come by there and get a picture of me and John,'” he revealed. “We go back a long way and I’ve always loved him, and I don’t think I have a picture. And I made a special trip to town that day. I didn’t want to bug him at the session, so before the music all started, I was gone, but I did get my picture. And I had a wonderful visit with John. I was blown away by his version of ‘1959.’ That was the last time I saw him. A great artist and a great spirit, John Prine.”

John Anderson / Wikimedia Commons

Back in March 2020, Prine and his wife Fiona Whelan contracted COVID-19. They had quarantined, and while Fiona recovered, Prine had to be hospitalized. Ultimately, he died on April 7, 2020. Prine had worked around health battles in the late ’90s when he developed squamous-cell cancer along his neck, and the resulting operation led to his gravelly voice. When he had part of his lung removed, his exercise regimen required him to run up and down the stairs, then sing songs while still out of breath. He was a man dedicated to his craft, and with the release of Something Borrowed, Something New, fans can enjoy one of the last recordings Prine worked on.

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