Tommy Prine is the youngest son of the late songwriting legend John Prine. Before John’s passing in 2020, Tommy sometimes accompanied his father on the road. He would take in the atmosphere, and sometimes work his dad’s merch table. In recent months, Tommy has been playing live shows and introducing himself to the world of country, Americana, and roots music. On Friday, Prine introduced himself to a wider audience with his debut single “Ships in the Harbor.”
Friday morning, Tommy Prine and his four-legged friend took to Twitter to share the good news. “Today’s the day folks. ‘Ships in the Harbor’ is out on all streaming platforms,” said the smiling Prine. “I really hope you love it as much as I do. This song means a lot to me.” Check it out below.
A Closer Look at Tommy Prine’s Debut Single
It’s immediately apparent that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree here. Tommy Prine picked up some of his late dad’s songwriting chops. Additionally, you can hear strains of John’s fingerpicking style in Tommy’s playing. However, this isn’t just Tommy aping his dad. Instead, it’s a deeply personal exploration of the fleeting nature of even the biggest moments in our lives.
In the video’s description, Prine explained that he wrote this song around his birthday last year, a time that always makes him think a little more deeply about life. “I had a thought that we as humans can only feel as deeply as we do and love people and fear things and all the other intense emotions is because everything we experience is finite, including our own lives,” he wrote. “So, I wrote this song about these little powerful moments and reflections in the human experience to try and capture the beauty in mortality.”
Throughout the song, Tommy Prine waxes poetically about beautiful and fleeting moments. He mentions the sun on his skin in the morning, seeing a bluebird, and catching up with an old friend. The opening lines reveal the formula with which he wrote the song. “It must be morning again. / The sun through the window/ Felt good on my skin. / So it must be leaving soon / As it should.”
Over the course of the song, the things that Tommy Prine mentions get a little heavier. Then, in the song’s final stanza, he reaches the emotional climax. “When I’m by peaceful waters / It gets harder and harder / I’d do anything just to / Talk to my father / But I guess he was leaving soon/ As we do,” and it hurts so good.
This is an amazing introduction to Tommy Prine. We can only hope that he’ll announce a full-length album someday soon.