With influences ranging from progressive bluegrass to old film scores, Black Prairie is a bright spot on the Pacific Northwest music scene. While in Nashville during the Americana Music Conference last year, the ensemble visited the CMT studio to perform this melodic, mournful rendition of “Richard Manuel.” The song pays homage to The Band’s soulful piano player who committed suicide following a 1986 concert.
Annalisa Tornfelt, who sings and plays fiddle in Black Prairie, incorporated some of the details surrounding the death into the lyrics, underscoring the mystery and helplessness of the situation.
In addition, Black Prairie co-founder (and Dobro player) Chris Funk says the tragic narrative drew him into the song which can be found on the group’s 2012 album, A Tear in the Eye Is a Wound in the Heart.
Look for the band to share the stage with Amos Lee in Oregon and Washington next month.
Check out the exclusive CMT Edge live performance of Black Prairie’s “Richard Manuel.”