John Prine, a wonderful songwriter, died yesterday at 73 of complications from coronavirus after returning home last month from a European tour. On his 1971 self-titled debut album, he included a song called “Angel From Montgomery,” which Prine described as:

“A song about a middle-aged woman who feels older than she is…[Eventually] I had this really vivid picture of this woman standing over the dishwater with soap in her hands….She wanted to get out of her house and her marriage and everything. She just wanted an angel to come to take her away from all this.”

“Angel From Montgomery” was covered early on by Carly Simon and John Denver, but it didn’t become well-known until Bonnie Raitt released her version (which Prine considered the definitive one) in 1974. She continued to perform it on all of her subsequent tours, and I’ve been fortunate to hear her sing it in person many times over the decades. Others who covered the song include Dave Matthews Band, Maren Morris, Susan Tedeschi, Brandi Carlile, and John Mayer.

Here is Prine performing his song on “Austin City Limits” in October, 2019…