The Waybacks & Friends - Halfway to Heaven CD


In September, 2021, festival-goers celebrated the return of Merlefest after a pandemic hiatus, and The Waybacks celebrated the legacy of an American songwriter lost to that pandemic.

John Prine's 1971 eponymous release combines centuries-old Appalachian roots with the psychedelic sounds and political consciousness of the 1960s, and the Waybacks explore these seminal strains of "Americana" in a roiling hour and a half set of live music that veers from the nostalgic to the unexpected, heartfelt at both extremes. Careful listeners will find tributes to band heroes Bill Withers, Kenny Rogers, Dusty Hill from ZZ Top, and even Neil Peart and Rush.

Instrumental fireworks abound, thanks to the likes of Sam Bush, Jens Kruger, and Tommy Emmanuel, and Jim Lauderdale, Red Young, and Noah Wall deliver the vocal goods, reminding us just how much we all love those quirky and inimitable Prine moments.

"A bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down." Enough said!

01. Intro: Paradise Waiting (John Henry > Eve Of Destruction > Pretty Polly > Riders On The Storm > In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida > Nashville Skyline Rag > Embryonic Journey)

02. Illegal Smile

03. Spanish Pipedream

04. Hello In There > September Song

05. Sam Stone

06. Paradise

07. Pretty Good > The Gambler

08. Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore

09. Far From Me > Ain't No Sunshine

10. Angel From Montgomery

11. Quiet Man (for Neil)

12. Donald And Lydia > It's A Hard Life

13. Six O'Clock News > Pineola

14. Flashback Blues