John Prine and John Dickerson share more than the same first name, and the common bonds of music and respect resonated through every minute and musical note of the February 7 feature for “CBS This Morning.” By profession, the two men are from very different worlds, and both are highly acclaimed, and still, in the final few moments of their time shared on camera, a rare connection in kismet transpired that neither is likely to forget. These are the moments that make television worth watching, and the evidence of why music never leaves the soul.

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At 72, John Prine is celebrating his life and artistry as never before. His latest album, “The Tree of Forgiveness,” is nominated for three Grammys at this coming Sunday's ceremony on February 10, and the album currently reigns at number one on Amazon in categories of Traditional Folk, Classic Country, and Ballets, believe it or not. More than the critical and commercial success that sparked a year-long surge of touring for John Prine, the singer-songwriter who has crafted unforgettable bonds between words and melodies for almost 50 years recently survived a second bout with cancer, and insists that, “however much you enjoyed life before, you enjoy it just that much more” having won the battle again.

Fans have been faithful to Prine across the decades, but now seem a little bit more determined to show their dedication.

John Dickerson had the daunting role of taking on his co-anchor position on the “CBS This Morning” team in January of 2018, amidst the fallout of sexual misconduct that seemed epidemic across major networks. The newsman earned his worthy reputation by asking surgically placed, incisive questions of his “Face the Nation” subjects that Houdini himself could never escape.

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He certainly would prefer not to be between three accomplished ladies bombarding him over Valentine's Day gifts, as they were this morning, but his role on the AM broadcast has enabled him to show a more reflective and personal side, as father, husband, friend, writer, and avid musician, as he demonstrated with John Prine.

Right at home

John Prine created lasting ballads like “Sam Stone” while making daily deliveries on his mail route, never knowing that Johnny Cash would perform one of the most memorable renditions of that classic, joining other contemporaries like Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Bette Midler, and Kacey Musgraves, who is also up for big awards on Sunday.

The singer-songwriter welcomed John Dickerson into the inner sanctum of his library, where he loves to create. It was Roger Ebert's review of a John Prine show that proclaimed “the singing mailman delivers” back in 1970 that has ensured no empty seats for the artist since. In contrast, another review hangs on the wall, one that describes Prine’s voice as “poor quality sandpaper” and decries that all he did onstage was drink beer and sing with a twang.

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“Entertaining as a dog bite” is the title of that piece, and it's no wonder that the songwriter stays so grounded, pondering those opposite realities.

The beauty of the worn soul and song

Cancer surgeries have Prine's voice a touch more worn and wonderful, with the truth of life ringing through each note. One of the songs from “The Tree of Forgiveness” that encapsulates the singer-songwriter's remarkable gift for whimsy, melody, and the metaphysical all in one is “Egg & Daughter Nite, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1967 (Crazy Bones).” The song effortlessly fuses fond bygone memories, the frailty of old age, and hope for the future without a hint of self-pity.

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A Christmas tree stays lit in a corner of the room, decorated with red vinyl records as ornaments. The added décor likely is a reminder to John Prine of the grandparents who treated him “like I was something off the Christmas tree” in love and devotion.

Prine has always embraced the conditions of the present while paying homage to the past, as in songs like “Grandpa Was a Carpenter,” and countless more. “This is what the road will do to you,” reminds the songwriter, picking up his favorite guitar, and noting that the instrument is retired, “but I'm still out there.” “Is there anything left in there?” he calls into the wooden medium that carried so many memorable songs.

John Dickerson beams with laughter and smiles through the conversation, jotting down gems of life wisdom more than taking interviewer’s notes. Prine details that it was his son's idea to lock him away in a hotel suite to finish songs for the latest album, and there are still boxes of unfinished songs that he and his wife, Fiona, can pick up on a whim. In an interview with USA Today on February 6, Prine promises that there is enough material, much of it with current collaborators like Dan Auerbach, to create a follow-up album.

After a ride in Prine’s 1999 Cadillac Deville, John Dickerson and John Prine collaborate in creating a musical blessing, calling up the memories of the Muhlenberg, County, Kentucky. “This is a song I wrote for my father,” says the songwriter, plucking the opening to “Paradise,” the song that closes every John Prine show. John Dickerson flawlessly flows into the chorus, never missing a lyric or a chord. When the folk master credits that “you sound pretty good,” the emotion is palpable for Dickerson, who says “all I did was grow up listening to John Prine.” The anchor relates how he sang “Paradise” to put his daughters to sleep in their young years.

Some dreams come true are better than dreams, depending on the real-life hero.

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