Kacey Musgraves Shares the Song She Says John Prine’s Ghost Inspired Her to Write

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

This week, Nashville is in the middle of You Got Gold: Celebrating the Life & Songs of John Prine. The multi-day event allows several artists to pay tribute to the legendary songwriter. The celebration kicked off last Friday and will go on until tomorrow. Last night, several of Prine’s family, friends, and former collaborators took over the Ryman Auditorium to celebrate his birthday. Kacey Musgraves, Bonnie Raitt, Tyler Childers, Bob Weir, and many more took the stage to pay tribute.

Most of the artists in attendance covered John Prine’s songs. However, a couple broke the mold and played something for or about Prine. One of those artists was Kacey Musgraves. She shared an unreleased song called “Walk in Peace” with the gathered audience. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the song is available in any format. However, we do know the story behind it. Musgraves said that Prine’s ghost inspired her to write it.

Kacey Musgraves Saw John Prine’s Ghost

John Prine and Kacey Musgraves were friends before his death in 2020. When Prine passed away, Musgraves was going through a divorce. So, it was a tough time for her all around. Looking back, she said she was “really not doing well,” according to CMT. So, she and some friends took a trip to New Orleans. That’s where she met John Prine’s ghost.

“This is a story that I really haven’t told many people outside of [John Prine’s widow] Fiona and a few close friends because it sounds crazy,” Musgraves said. “I don’t know how else to explain it, it wasn’t something I was looking for. John – his spirit – came to me.”

Kacey Musgraves added that Prine contacted her from beyond the grave out of the blue. “I love John as much as anybody and loved our connection but trying to get in touch with John Prine’s spirit sounds like something some corny Americana artist would tell Rolling Stone.”

Looking back on the otherworldly experience, she said, “I can only really describe it as a dreamlike state. It started off with him giving me a message. I almost want to cry talking about it because it came at a time when I really needed to hear it. He said, ‘Walk in peace. Just walk in peace.’ That is not even a phrase that I had ever heard before.”

“I’ve always been into witchy stuff,” Kacey Musgraves said. “But nothing like this has ever happened in my life.”

Writing “Walk in Peace”

The next day, Kacey Musgraves said she was on a plane flying home to Nashville. She was staring out the window, watching the sunset, and reflecting on the night before. “I was thinking about the experience I had the night before. I started dozing off on the plane and this ‘walk in peace’ tapped me on the shoulder. It flooded me in a way,” she recalled.

Usually, Musgraves doesn’t write songs alone because she likes to collaborate. This one, though, hit her like a “lightning bolt” and she had to write it. “I was half awake, half asleep. It came in the form of lines that made sense. They rhymed. I heard the chords. They sounded like a hymn and I don’t write music that sounds like that. I truly believe in my soul that in some weird way – as crazy as it sounds – I was a vessel,” Kacey concluded.