John Prine’s recent passing from Covid-19 complications was a tough loss for songwriters and fans across the globe. Andrea Parodi, an Italian musician based in Lombardia, a region hard-hit by the virus, has assembled a cross-section of American and Italian artists paying tribute to the late beloved wordsmith online Monday April 27.
Episode #2 features NYC-based songwriter James Maddock and Austin’s Gurf Morlix, plus Ian Foster & Nancy Hines, Colin Gilmore, Andrea Ramolo, Toney Hall & Vini Lopez (aka The Hula Hula Boys), Alex Kid Gariazzo, Richard Lindgren, Jono Manson, Eileen Rose & Rich Gilbert, Peter Rowan and Tom Wilson. The show is hosted by Jim Swift of Sun Radio, based in Austin, Texas. Last week’s episode featured Mary Gauthier & Jaimee Harris, Lily Hiatt, David Grissom, Will Sexton & Amy Lavere plus others.
Parodi, an affable, soft-spoken singer/songwriter with several original CD’s drenched in his love for Americana artists, first saw Prine perform in a theater near Milan in 1996. “There were around 100 people and I was very shocked. I was wondering why Springsteen could fill the San Siro Stadium in Milan and Prine could not fill a small provincial theater. Without taking anything away from the Boss of course, but I was really shocked by the beauty of Prine’s songs.”
Parodi has seen first-hand the devastating effect of the virus across his beloved Italy. “My region was the hardest hit ever. The death toll is frightening. I live 45 minutes from Bergamo, and there are pictures of corpses carried away by the tanks. All of this is really sad.”
“All my doctor friends have contracted Covid. We have also lost friends. And then there continues to be confusion in communication and it could be that many of us had Covid asymptomatically. In January there were many cases of suspected pneumonia. We’ve been in lockdown for practically two months. The month of March was terrible, there was so much fear. I think we will soon start to see a horizon but unfortunately there have been too many deaths and having lost John Prine breaks my heart.”
Parodi originally planned to organize three online tributes, but those plans could change. “Many songwriters responded quickly to the invitation and the cast was formed in a short time. I would be very happy to add another episode. This interview in your beautiful magazine that I know well could certainly convey this message. I leave my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if anyone would like to write to participate.”
Parodi was in the midst of hosting his annual Townes Van Zandt International Festival when the outbreak curtailed his plans. That event features passionate performances of Van Zandt’s wry and insightful songs capped off with a celebratory after-show party with the evening’s performers, all set in a quaint, obscure Italian town near beautiful Lake Como.
“Once this is under control, I want to organize a big festival for Townes Van Zandt and for John Prine in Italy, a traveling festival, to show you all the beauty of this land.”
Long Monday – A celebration to the late great John Prine
April 27th 2020
9 pm (Italy), 3 pm (New York), 2 pm Austin