On Thursday, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass shared its tribute to late singer-songwriter John Prine with a virtual compilation performance of “Paradise”, as played by a number of various artists. The communal rendition of the tune found on Prine’s 1971 debut record comes from the festival’s Let The Music Play On stream.
Held on October 3rd, Let The Music Play On celebrated 20 years of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, featuring a lineup of performers similar to those normally associated with the San Francisco Bay Area festival. The virtual event also saw contributions from Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Bonnie Raitt, Steve Earle and the Halfgrass Dukes featuring Tim O’Brien and Dennis Crouch, Birds of Chicago, Sierra Ferrell, Tré Burt, Carrie Rodriguez, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock.
While the group performance begins with just a trio of performers, it soon becomes somewhat of a shuttle relay as the song is passed from artist to artist after each stanza. When singing duties shift to a new singer, however, the vocals from the previous singer (and the singers before that) can still be heard, as each of the vocal recordings start to layer on top of one another to form something like a heavenly choir. Even, seven months after his death back in April, Prine’s absence in the world of Americana and folk music is still deeply missed by his vast legion of colleagues and the fans whom he inspired.
Watch Hardly Strictly Bluegrass performers cover “Paradise” by John Prine for Let The Music Play On.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Virtual Compilation – “Paradise”
[Video: John Prine]