Annie Zaleski

John Prine, a wry and perceptive writer whose country and folk songs often resembled vivid short stories, has died at age 73. His death, from complications caused by COVID-19, was confirmed by his family.

John Prine, a wry and perceptive writer whose songs often resembled vivid short stories, died Tuesday in Nashville from complications related to COVID-19. His death was confirmed by his publicist, on behalf of his family. He was 73 years old.

When Canadian prog-rock innovators Rush were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, it was both somewhat surprising and totally appropriate that drummer Neil Peart opened the trio's acceptance speech. The musician and author, who passed away at the age of 67 on January 7 after a private, three-and-a-half-year struggle with brain cancer, famously eschewed the spotlight and rarely gave interviews.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Once we reach adulthood, it's easy to dismiss childhood musical obsessions as frivolous rather than formative. That enthusiasm can be seen as embarrassing, or some form of misguided, or infantile, admiration. It's far more challenging to take the uncynical view and honor the passion behind the musical fixations of our youth.