John Prine has survived two bouts of serious cancer and the surgery that followed. He is looking a bit worse for wear now and at 71, he is showing his age. This is not always a bad thing. As a young fella, he was never a young fella, he had a 100 year old mind in that young head.
This man has lived a life and a half. It shows in his songs. He doesn’t pull punches and his voice is like that of my favourite songwriter, Kris Kristofferson, you can tell that he has lived those songs. That’s what makes them real….you could probably say the same for James Taylor and Bob Dylan. They are in an elite group of artists who tell it like it is and they tell it their way.
Our own John Prine like artist, Bill Chambers, is following in the footsteps of this legend. I don’t use that word lightly. Many people do.
John Prine can be funny, sarcastic, caustic and shoot straight from the heart to a heart. He plays with words like tiles on a scrabble board. The gravel in his voice mirrors the gravel on the rough roads that he has travelled.
A 50 year career is dotted with some gems, many that have become classics, like Angel From Montgomery, Speed of the Sound of Loneliness, In Spite of Ourselves, The Late John Garfield Blues and many more.
One of the best things that he did was to encourage Iris DeMent. I will be forever grateful for that.
This album possesses probably some future classics. Great to hear Brandi Carlile on here. John has a dig or two at critics and the media. He puts a smile on your face, even when he is talking about tough subjects.
There are catchy songs, like the opening track which has a deeper meaning than the upbeat rhythm may suggest. There are love songs, songs which mention all of the ingredients of good country songs, love, loss, mortality, immortality, mistakes, every day life, and there’s a bit about growing older and a few alcohol influenced songs.
John Prine is a songwriters’ songwriter. This is a gem. All of the songs are different, yet they are a bit like a chain of children dancing across a prairie holding hands, they are all linked somehow.
An absolute treat. Thanks for the first album since 2005 with all John Prine originals.