The Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith hosted a night in memory of singer-songwriter John Prine last week on the occasion of the second anniversary of his death (Thursday 7 April).
Ralph McTell and John’s son Tommy Prine, both interviewed in The Irish World last week, were among the performers to take part.
John’s widow Fiona is from Ardara, Co. Donegal. Fiona, John and their family spent much time in Kinvara, Co. Galway where they had a home.
Blow Up Your TV! Remembering John Prine also featured John’s longtime friend Paul Mulligan, a singer-songwriter from Kinvara, Co. Galway, Brendan Quinn and former Altan fiddle and accordion players, Ciaran Tourish and Dermot Byrne.
Tanya McCole from Ardara in Donegal, who toured as a special guest for many John Prine concerts, was also billed but had to miss out due to illness.
John’s widow Fiona addressed the crowd at the start saying: “It’s so lovely to be here.
“I have to say thank you to Gerry Logue who came up with this idea about a year ago, I think. And it seemed very far away but it seemed like the perfect thing.
“Any time people come together and sing John’s songs is a good day.
“This is his second anniversary since he left us.
“Someone just asked me how I was and I said, ‘Ya know some days are sadder and harder than any particular date honestly’.
“But it’s very fitting that we’re here.
“Anybody who knows anything about John knows that he absolutely adored Ireland and he was more at home there than he was anywhere else in the world, honestly, even Nashville, so here we are.”
Introducing those about to play Fiona referred to Paul Mulligan as her “really good friend and rock for me and my family before, during and after John’s passing.”
Paul would tell The Irish World after the show: “It was really the first chance, as friends of John’s, we had to get together and celebrate his life really.
“Because he died during the height of Covid, we couldn’t be at a funeral or any other memorial and this is really the first chance we’ve had to get together, sing John’s songs and celebrate his life.
“Quite an emotional time for us all really.
“It was amazing to be with friends and remember John. To us it was the nearest thing to a wake.
“He gave us a lot of great memories and we carry them forward along with his songs.”
Paul Mulligan, Brendan Quinn, Ciaran Tourish and Dermot Byrne started the show with John Prine songs such as Aimless Love, Fish and Whistle, I Wish You All the Best, Far From Me, How Lucky and I Remember Everything.
After an interval Fiona would introduce Ralph McTell saying she had “always loved his voice and his songs” since she was a little one.
Ralph would play John’s Speed of the Sound of Loneliness as well as his own iconic From Clare to Here explaining that there was a link between them in that they were both recorded by the late Nanci Griffith, another American country singer who had a special connection with Ireland.
Ralph introduced John’s son Tommy before he took to the stage to play some songs from his debut album as well as some of his father’s.
Tommy would be joined by Dermot, Brendan, Ciaran and Dermot for songs such as Angel from Montgomery and You’ve got Gold.
And all the night’s performers would be onstage together before the end when Ralph would return for a poignant rendition of Paradise before the night would be brought to a close with the presentation of some flowers to Fiona.