Kacey Musgraves' new song 'Cardinal' is inspired by late country music star John Prine.

The 35-year-old singer was devastated by the loss of her friend and mentor in 2020 when he passed away aged 73 complications relating to COVID-19 - and Kacey has now revealed she kept seeing his favourite birds following his death and it inspired the track which opens her new album 'Deeper Well'.

In the CD zine made to accompany the record, she explained: "When cardinals appear, angels are near. Unexplainable things started happening and cardinals started showing up on my doorstep soon after my good friend and mentor passed, John Prine.

"He always had a big connection to cardinals and felt that they were messengers from the spirit realm. He inspired this song, no doubt."

In 'Cardinal', she sings: "I saw a sign / Or an omen / On the branches / In the mornin' / It was right after I lost a friend / Without warning / Words unsaid / Scarlet red / Cardinal / Are you bringin' me a message from the other side / Cardinal / Are you tellin' me I'm on somebody's mind / Don't leave me behind."

Kacey was a huge fan of the country veteran and they eventually became friends and collaborators, with the singer joining him for a performance on a cruise in 2015 and on stage at a gig in in Colorado in 2017.

After his death, Kacey credited John with having a huge influence on her songwriting. She told PEOPLE: "John Prine singlehandedly impacted my songwriting more than anyone else. He’s the king of turning phrase but keeping it simple. They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes, but you’ll never meet someone as truly genuine as he was."

She added: "There are two times I’ve ever seen my dad cry: my Memaw’s funeral and the time I got to play with John Prine."

The late star previously inspired another of Kacey's tracks - 2019's 'Burn One with John Prine' - which was about their first meeting at one of his annual Christmas parties.

John previously recalled to Rolling Stone: "This little girl comes up to me with her buddy ... They wanted to take me out in the parking lot and get me high. I said, ‘Uh, gee, thanks but … no, thanks'

"We had our picture taken together and the next thing I know, I’m over at my record company, Oh Boy Records, and I hear this tape. It’s Kacey singing this song about how she’d like to burn one with John Prine."