I must’ve been a little nuts when I took this on, John Prine’s career has flirted around the edges of “mainstream” popularity and he can rightly be described as an American treasure. He’s been able to carve out his own space in the folk/country/Americana/roots/whatever genre(s) without compromising himself, even going so far as to start his own label, Oh Boy at a time (early ’80s) when DIY was mostly associated with the burgeoning punk underground like Fugazi and SST Records.
I first heard of him through friends who had older brothers who bought Prine’s early albums and being in Chicago we were clued in to catch his performance on WTTW’s Soundstage show in 1980. I recorded that show on vhs and unfortunately it’s long gone.
Rather than try to tackle an exhaustive bio I’ll provide a few links to some recent articles, he turns 70 today and his latest album, For Better , Or For Worse just came out on September 30.
A year ago the lyrics to his song Paradise were an issue in a case against Peabody Energy (and their coal train).
A brief LA Times piece focusing on his latest album- http://www.latimes.com/ente…
A nice NY Times piece from back in April- http://www.nytimes.com/2016…
And a recent appearance on WTF- http://www.wtfpod.com/podca… (skip past the first 18 minutes of Maroning, you’ll be glad you did). “I don’t seek out people, I bump into ‘em.”
There are tons of videos on youtube- https://www.youtube.com/cha…
Rather than me posting individual videos why don’t those of you familiar with his work share some of your favorites and those unfamiliar please ask some questions and I’ll do my best to answer them. I posted this early and I’ll be driving for a good part of the day, I’ll check back in eight hours or so.
Quick list of my favorites: Illegal Smile, Sweet Revenge, Fish & Whistle, Picture Show, Take a Look at My Heart, Blow Up Your TV, Please Don’t Bury Me, The Bottomless Lake, Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore,He Forgot That It Was Sunday, Saddle In The Rain, We Are The Lonely, Quit Hollerin’ At Me… Cripes I could go on and on.