"Tree of Forgiveness" is an album from American singer/songwriter John Prine, released 13 April 2018 on the Oh Boy Records label. It is his first set of originals in over a decade. The album was produced by Dave Cobb.
With The Tree Of Forgiveness—71-year-old Prine’s first album of all-new material in 13 years—he doesn’t miss a beat, doling out material that highlight every facet of his still-underrated talent. “Knockin’ On Your Screen Door” and “Egg & Daughter Night, Lincoln Nebraska, 1967 (Crazy Bone)” deliver Prine’s sly, homespun humor. The first, a song about a lonely man looking for some neighborly attention, delivers it with a win. His talk of laundry on the line, a can of pork and beans, and a family that left him “With nothin’ but an eight track/Another Side of George Jones” made light by an upbeat acoustic rhythm and a nosey-neighbor attitude. The second is a charmer that intercuts the nostalgic memories of the big night when farmers would bring their eggs (and their pretty daughters)—into town, with a frequent allusion to a “crazy bone” that makes men do mischievous things—the kind of excusable naughtiness that is usually accompanied by an embarrassed, half-scolding, half-laughing, “Grandpa!!”
A sweet little song at just under two minutes, “I Have Met My Love Today” has a country-calypso feel and features Brandi Carlile on backing vocals. Lyric-wise, it’s not one of his strongest moments. Neither is “God Only Knows” the long-postponed completion of an old song co-written with Phil Spector which features one verse that rhymes “feel/feel/reveal/feel…and feel.” But when your best efforts are what landed you on Bob Dylan’s shortlist of all-time favorite songwriters, the bar is very much at a different level.
Reviewed by Madison Desler for pastemagazine.com.