Luke Combs Agrees on Saving Country Music’s 2022 Song of the Year

The Saving Country Music Song of the Year winner always turns out to be one of the most controversial picks for end-of-year awards. No, it’s not usually because there isn’t a consensus behind the song being something spectacular. After all, the opinions of readers of Saving Country Music also weigh heavily into the decision. It’s because when it comes to Song of the Year, genre is placed secondary to the emotional impact the song delivers, and sometimes this confuses or frustrates people.

The 2022 Song of the Year was no different. With a poetic grace that doesn’t need a famous name to be compelling, John Prine’s son Tommy Prine exquisitely encapsulated how all the happiness and grace in life—however enjoyable—is invariably fleeting. From the warmth of seeing a bluebird perched on a fence, to the unconditional love of a father, eventually it will go away due to the rhythms of life. As much as Prine’s “Ships in the Harbor” was a lament on inevitability, it’s also a lesson to enjoy the sweet moments of life while we’re in the midst of them.

But some didn’t think the song was country enough, or perhaps compelling enough for them. That’s fine, these things are inherently subjective. But one person who apparently did concur was the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year, and one of the most popular artists in all of country music at the moment.

While on the Red Carper at the 2023 Grammy Awards if February, someone from CBS shoved a microphone into the face of Luke Combs, and asked him “What song can you not stop listening to?” Luke’s answer?

“John Prine’s son, Tommy Prine, wrote a song when his dad passed called ‘Ships in the Harbor,’ and I just can not stop listening to that song. It’s so amazing. Wonderful song.”

We shouldn’t be so entirely shocked that Luke Combs has Tommy Prine and “Ships in the Harbor” on his radar. Sure, the song has just barely cracked 300,000 spins on Spotify, and was the young man’s debut single, so it’s not like it’s a viral hit or something. But we know from past behavior that Luke Combs—even as the CMA Entertainer of the Year—is paying attention to what is happening in the independent country world too.

Not only has Combs collaborated with Billy Strings in the past, touted 49 Winchester and other up-and-coming artists and bands, he once even shouted out The Wilder Blue, and Combs said that he discovered them right here on Saving Country Music. He’s also taking Brent Cobb, Lainey Wilson, and Flatland Cavalry out with him on tour.

Did Luke find Tommy Prine an “Ships in the Harbor” on SCM too? That’s undetermined at this point. But undoubtedly, he’s paying attention to the good stuff out there. And whether inadvertently or purposefully, he concurs about Saving Country Music’s 2022 Song of the Year, or at least that it’s a great song.

Luke Combs releases his new album Gettin’ Old on March 24th. We’re still waiting on the announcement about Tommy Prine’s debut album, but it’s expected in 2023. Prine is also playing a residency a Tuesday night residency at The Basement in Nashville this month, and was just announced on the lineup of The Long Road Festival in the UK in August.

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