A tribute to the late John Prine whose songs I have been singing for over 40 years. I had been thinking of recording this album for a couple
of years and the Covid 19 pandemic of 2020 provided the
space for me to get started. I’d just gotten into recording
the first few tracks when John went down with the virus
and tragically the world lost a great songwriter and
"So, if we were all asked to pick out our favourite dozen John Prine songs, I wonder how much crossover there’d be. Ask around. I bet you’ll get wildly varying answers. Prine was that kind of artist – a writer with an astonishingly broad and deep catalogue. So Slim Pickens’ personal love letter on the passing of Prine is exactly that - personal. No “Sam Stone”, no Angel From Montgomery, no “Mexican Home”.
Obviously the album that means the most to Pickens is Diamonds In The Rough. At least half the selections on Trip To Mars come from that album, a couple more from the self titled debut and Sweet Revenge. The exceptions are more recent songs “Egg & Daughter Night, Linkoln Nebraska, 1967 (Crazy Bone)” and “Morning Train”. It sounds like Pickens had a clear idea of how he wanted each song arranged and did all of the recording and much of the playing himself. He had already started recording the concept when Prine became sick and died. We can only imagine what affect that had on the project. Instead of causing him to give up, it inspired Pickens to produce some of his best recordings to date. With some songs , like “Hello In There”, he chooses to experiment with the instrumental arrangement. On others he remains more faithful to the original. In some he sings so uncannily like the original author, you almost forget you’re listening to a cover. Throughout all, though, Pickens inhabits the original spirit of these great songs with an authenticity and reverence."
Martin Jones – Rhythms Magazine (2021)
"I became a fan of Slim Pickens with the release of the Hankering album in 2014 –a fine presentation of Hank Williams tunes – and was eager to hear Trip To Mars as I’m a huge John Prine fan. This collection of 12 of Mr Prine’s songs is a beauty and presents some of the better known as well as a couple of maybe rarer tunes. Prine fans, and those who appreciate great songs in general, would be aware of Paradise, Hello In There, Spanish Pipedream, Please Don’t Bury Me and Souviners, but there’s fine renderings of The Torch Singer, Billy The Bum and Crazy Bone (off Mr Prine’s last album). Slim Pickens is a man and a band and collectively they do justice to the songs in a primarily traditional country style with fiddle, pedal steel and guitars and Slim’s vocals are as smooth as the songs often require and just about as pure as any country fan could want. A truly heartfelt tribute to the man and the songs delivered with respect and honour."
Jon Wolfe - Tamworth Country Music Capital News (2021)
released October 8, 2020
Slim Pickens.. Vocals, Guitars, Banjo, Mandolin, Bass, Keyboards
Neil McCann.. Drums
Gleny Rae.. Fiddle
John Hill.. Piano
Michel Rose.. Pedal Steel
Sonya Lopes.. Trombone
Slim has toured and played festivals all over Australia and Europe. He is a multi-award winner who has produced eight
albums. His “Happy Trails” album went to #2 on the Australian Blues and Roots Charts. His music has been heard on radio in the USA, South America, Europe and Australia as well as broadcasts on the internet.
His album “Hankering” has been getting airplay on the BBC....more