Following in the footsteps of Brandi Carlile’s take on “I Remember Everything,” Sturgill Simpson recently released a cover version of John Prine’s 1971 single “Paradise” for Oh Boy Records’ Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, Vol. 2, expected to be released on Oct. 8.
In a press release, Oh Boy Records representatives noted Simpson’s version of “Paradise” was the last song recorded at the Butcher Shoppe recording studio in Nashville, before the studio was demolished. Simpson and David Ferguson—who co-founded the studio with Prine—co-produced the song. The song details coal mining’s sad, heart-wrenching impact on both his father and the residents of Paradise, Kentucky—a town located in Prine’s family’s home area of Muhlenberg County.
“Paradise” is from Prine’s self-titled debut album. Simpson joins an impressive collection of other artists who have covered the song, including Dwight Yoakam, the Everly Brothers, John Denver, Johnny Cash, Lynn Anderson and Roy Acuff.
In a November 2020 interview with Stephen Colbert, Simpson discussed his nearly two-decade-long friendship with Prine noting that he first met him while in a mixing session for his 2016 album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth and was unaware that the legend was in the room with him. “When I turned around, John was sitting in a chair in these plaid pants, just kind of looking. I had no idea how long he’d been sitting there. I hit vapor lock. I kind of freaked out — you’re face-to-face with your hero.”
As well, Simpson explained that via Prine’s estate, he was bequeathed a Porsche 911 Turbo when the singer-songwriter passed due to complications from COVID-19. Simpson—who already is a father of three—joked that the responsibility of caring for the Porsche is like having a fourth child. “It’s bittersweet, but it will be something I treasure for the rest of my life,” he said.