“He Taught Me to Be Fearless”


Legendary country folk singer-songwriter John Prine had a lot of fans. Bill Murray, Eric Church, Sturgill Simpson, and everyone who wrote him the postcards that were used in his final video, "I Remember Everything", for starters. Another to count among Prine's legions of fans is country star Toby Keith.

After Prine succumbed to complications from coronavirus in April 2020, Keith knew that he wanted to pay tribute to his songwriting hero. On his new album, Peso in My Pocket, he does just that, covering Prine's song, "Take a Look at My Heart."

The track was originally included on Prine's 1991 album, The Missing Years. That version included vocals by none other than Bruce Springsteen. Keith recently swung through the Taste of Country Nights radio show and told host Evan Paul that he didn't know the song that well, but when it appeared on a playlist he was listening to while running, he knew he wanted to cover the musical gem rather than cover a better known hit.

Keith's take on the tune combines Prine's lyrical genius with Keith's musical ability to "let it rip", a trait he said he learned from Prine.. It's an apt tribute to the songwriter who Keith told Paul "taught [him] to be fearless."

Toby Keith in Concert
Credit: Rick Diamond / Staff/Getty

 "It was a big loss," he told Paul. "I just wanted to pay tribute to the guy."