One cruel twist of the passing of songwriting legend John Prine was that a traditional memorial service was made impossible by the very virus that took his life on April 7. After deep thinking and re-grouping, the Prine family and Oh Boy Records opted to take the memorial online.
Picture Show: A Tribute Celebrating John Prine will premiere Thursday at 6:30 central across multiple platforms, including John Prine’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitch channels. It will be a fund-raiser for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Alive Hospice and Make The Road New York.
“We thought doing this now was an opportunity for us all to come together,” Jody Whelan told WMOT on Tuesday. Whelan is Director of Operations for the label and the artist’s son. “The way we’re thinking of it now is that it’s the first thing we’re going to do. It’s not the last thing.”
The guests contributing performances and memories for the roughly two-hour video is long and illustrious. Viewers will see: Courtney Marie Andrews, Dan Auerbach, Kevin Bacon, Brené Brown, Brandi Carlile, Eric Church, Dave Cobb, Stephen Colbert, Peter Cooper, Iris DeMent, John Dickerson, Mitchell Drosin, David Ferguson, Vince Gill, Jason Isbell, Jeremy Ivey, Jim James, Pat McLaughlin, Bill Murray, Kacey Musgraves, Margo Price, Fiona Whelan Prine, Jack Prine, Tommy Prine, Bonnie Raitt, The Secret Sisters, Kyra Sedgwick, Amanda Shires, Sturgill Simpson, Todd Snider, Billy Bob Thornton, Kurt Vile, Kelsey Waldon, Sara Watkins, Jody Whelan, John Paul White, Rita Wilson and Prine’s longtime band members Kenneth Blevins, David Jacques, Fats Kaplin and Jason Wilber.
“We were blown away that everyone helped make this work,” Whelan said “It is a really challenging time for artists to get things done and sent in and be in the right headspace. The list of people we thought about reaching out to was very long. His entertainment career was about 50 years long. So he definitely touched a lot of different worlds.”