John Prine at Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, MA on September 13, 2008. Back up Band: Jason Wilber and Dave Jacques. Opener: Sara Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion
By: Dennis Shaughnessey
WHEN OUT IN THE CROWD, PLEASE MIND YOUR MANNERS
The Lowell Sun - Article Last Updated: 09/22/2008 06:37:26 AM EDT
Why does it always happen to me?
Why am I always the guy who has to sit near the loudmouth at a sporting event or in a movie theater or at a concert?
It happened again recently at a John Prine concert at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. Some guy -- and you know who you are -- felt compelled to sing along with every song. At one point -- during "Angel From Montgomery" -- this guy actually added sound effects. During the line, "There's flies in the kitchen," he made a buzzing sound. Can you believe it?
My entire row turned around and shot him a mean look. I put my right index finger to my lips, looked at him and did the "Sshhh" thing. You know what he did? He put his right index finger to his lips and gave me the "Sshhh" thing right back. His buddy seemed embarrassed, and I think he tried talking to him, but it did no good. This guy was intent on singing. And he wasn't really singing loudly, maybe just above a whisper, but he was singing nonetheless, and it was a major annoyance. My friend said it was like bad stereo.
Look, buddy, we know you're a fan, OK? We know you have all of John Prine's albums and you know all the songs by heart and when John dies, you'll be able to say, "I've been listening to him for years." We all get it, and we are all duly impressed
Read the full article here
And let your comments be heard here
John was as incredible as ever. I saw him back in the 90's and was afraid that seeing him now he would be old and frail. That was hardly the case. His voice was great, he hasn't lost anything with his guitar playing, and the show had a high energy throughout. And of course, hilarious stories between songs. You can't beat a John Prine show. And now my wife is a believer, the newest Prine fan in the family.
By: David Perry
'New Dylan'? No, just the same, old John Prine
Full Article - read it here Last Updated: 09/12/2008 03:39:01 PM EDT
John Prine plays Lowell Memorial Auditorium tomorrow night. He admits he had a tough time being labeled the "new Dylan," but not as tough as others.
John Prine is American master, extraordinarily gifted at telling stories of ordinary folks in song. The addicted Vietnam vet in "Sam Stone," the lonesome folks in "Angel from Montgomery" and "Hello in There," and the vanishing splendor of Prine's "Paradise." And that's just from his 1971 debut album. A "new Dylan," some said.
More than a decade ago, Prine underwent surgery and radiation treatments for cancer in his neck. He's doing well, he says, cancer-free for nearly 11 years.
"Writing," Prine once noted, "is about a blank piece of paper and leaving out what's not supposed to be there." With his band (stand-up bassist Dave Jacques and guitarist Jason Wilber) Prine, 61, plays Lowell Memorial Auditorium tomorrow night. Prine checked in last week from his home in Nashville, where he lives with his wife, Fiona, and sons.
Q: Do you follow politics much? Watching the conventions? Any impressions?
A: With the Olympics, I've watched a lot more TV than I have in a long time. As a kid, I remember the conventions being more boring. Now, it's like Entertainment Tonight or something. I don't get the part where everybody's gotta be an electric personality. I sure recognize it, like they're a singer or something. ... I thought that gal (Sarah Palin), she was sure charismatic. Too bad she's a Republican, though.
Q: Do you still enjoy touring?
A: I got two boys, 12 and 13, and I like to be home with them and not on the road too much. We go out enough, you know. We don't go out and stay out unless it's some place a long way from home. I just did 10 days in Alaska, so we did a few dates.
Q: You were slapped with the "new Dylan" tag early on. How does something like that affect you?
A: Well, take a look at me (laughs). A lot of other guys after that got it hung on 'em, too. At first, I thought, "Jeez, I can't believe they're comparing my stuff to Bob Dylan's stuff." I took it as a compliment. But after a while, it follows you around. Guys would come up and say, "So you think you're the new Bob Dylan, eh?" Sort of like, let me see your gun.
Q: Your fan base is incredibly loyal, isn't it?
A: More than I deserve. I haven't even started a new record yet. If I put a record out every five years, I'm lucky. They support me. When I first started my label, they were so loyal that by the second record, they sent checks when the record wasn't even written. Their pre-orders of it paid for it before it was even done.
Q: What writers, either musical or nonmusical, have influenced you?
A: I'm not a huge reader anymore. I gotta be left somewhere with a book and no TV. But I read some books by John Steinbeck. And when I started writing, I really appreciated his writing. Each sentence means something. It's very descriptive. My dad was a huge fan of Hank Williams Sr. So I listened to him a lot and really early on, I used to emulate him. I'd make up songs trying to be like Hank Williams. Then Bob Dylan came along and put everything together on one plate.
Q: What music do you listen to for pleasure?
A: I love Van Morrison, anything he does. And Jerry Lee Lewis. And anything Bob Dylan still does, I always listen to him. And Iris Dement. I'd line up to play on her record.
Q: Any young songwriters you really like?
A: I wish there were. I can't go into -- if you can still find one -- a store that sells CDs without coming out with at least five CDs. It's nothing I need, but I go in and maybe it's something I read about. I never have gotten into downloads.
Q: Was "Illegal Smile" written about dope?
A: I remember before Johnny Carson, it was the Jack Paar show, and he used to make a reference to an illegal smile. I find a lot of everyday things kind of humorous. And sometimes I get this smile on my face. Like when you shake your head and smile. Back when that came out, I'd be on stage and as soon as I started it, it was like people were waiting. They'd fire up their joints. It was like a cannon went off. This big cloud of smoke would come up onstage. When I wrote it, I was alluding to it.
Q: I know you like to take your time, but your record with Mac Wiseman (2007's Standard Songs for Average People) has been on the shelf for a bit, and it's a cover record. Anything new in the pipeline?
A: I just wait 'til they come along. Just the last couple of weeks it's been happening. I was at my family reunion two weeks ago, and I had to go inside and grab a notebook. I started another one two days ago. It takes me two or three to get me primed up, then I get on a roll. ... I enjoy when I'm doing it, but when I'm not, it's difficult. I don't know anything more than when I first started writing. I couldn't teach a class on how to write a song, but I could teach one on how to get out of writing a song.
Q: Loads of folks have covered your songs. The Everly Brothers did "Paradise." Bette Midler, "Hello in There." Bonnie Raitt even stole one. You have a favorite cover?
A: You just mentioned three of 'em. I really like it anytime I hear one of those songs. I've only written a couple that are easy to sing. I mean, you can tell by the way I do 'em. But Bette Midler's version of "Hello in There," she just really just got that one. It's an easy song to botch up. But I like what she did with it. I turn 62 next month, and I'm taking my wife out to Las Vegas. She's never been there and we're going to see Bette Midler live in Vegas. It's a real big show, and I think she does "Hello in There" in it.
Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion open the show, which starts at 8 p.m. Call (978) 454-2299 or visit www.lowellauditorium.com for details.
By: Ken Gannon Kennzo1@msn.com
I am handycapped. The first great thing that happend to me was there was a handicap parking spot just in front of the venue that was available to me. The concert was the best I ever heard him sing and performed. Could listen to John sing all night. The concert opened with Sara Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion. The first 2 songs they sang were pretty good but the rest of the songs were not very good and couldn't wait till they stopped. Hopefully John will find more time in the future to come to the northeast to sing again.