John Prine - Sep 8, 8:00 PM

John Prine

What You'll Get


John Prine

  • The Prine story: A Chicago mailman with a lived-in voice and a gift for razor-sharp lyrics becomes a folk-scene fixture of the late '60s, gets his first review in the papers (from an enamored Roger Ebert) in 1970, lands his first album (with help from fan Kris Kristofferson) in 1971, and goes on to become one of the most influential songwriters in the history of modern folk.
  • Prine's devotees: Bob Dylan, who said "Prine's stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mind-trips to the nth degree. And he writes beautiful songs." Likewise, Johnny Cash claimed to listen to Prine when he was "going into songwriting mode and looking for inspiration." Kris Kristofferson had equally nice—albeit intimidating—things to say, remarking that Prine's songs are so good, "We'll have to break his thumbs."
  • Prine's prime accomplishments: Besides the adoration of critics and peers, plus a couple of Grammy Awards, Prine was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from BBC Radio 2, and became the first singer-songwriter to read and perform at the Library of Congress, at the request of Poet Laureate Ted Kooser.
  • John Prine songs to make you grin: "Dear Abby," "Please Don't Bury Me," "Fish and Whistle"
  • John Prine songs to make you cry: "Sam Stone," "Hello in There," "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness"
  • John Prine song to make you think he's a time-traveler: the prescient "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You into Heaven Anymore," a biting political satire from 1971 that could have been penned today

The Fine Print


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