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Feb 20, 2010 Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank NJ - John Prine with back UP by Jason Wilber and Dave Jacques. Opener Sara WatkinS



You say that John Prine’s not a household name in your household? We’ve got a full house of fans at the Count Basie this Saturday who say otherwise. Editor’s Note: When we heard that John Prine was coming to town, we worried that the highly regarded but low-profile singer/songwriter — a guy who sets the hearts of music legends thumpin’ like they was a bunch of bus-excursion tourists at a country-western FanFair — might encounter trouble filling the elegant acreage of the Count Basie Theatre. When we were told that the 63 year old Grammy winner had sworn off doing interviews forever, we turned to our great good friend Tim Cronin to compose an appreciation of all things Prine. After all, it was Cronin — prime Ribeye Brothers braisemaster, back-counter Buddah of Jack’s Music and blogworthy Boswell of the esteemed cultural journal known as ugh! — who was the first (maybe even the only) avowed Prine fan we’d ever met. But when we learned that the Prine show scheduled for this Saturday, February 20 had SOLD OUT in a souped-up jiffy, we knew for sure that Tim (who famously favored the movie Sorcerer over Star Wars) had once more found the true pulsebeat beneath the pop-cultural static field. Listen… The story goes that John Prine — who was working as a postman in a Chicago suburb in the late 60s — started performing in response to a dare; a challenge (“Do you think you could do better?”) made to him at an open mic night. Prine did, and could, and soon after that no less than Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times helped put Prine on the map by giving him a glowing review. Prine also became part of the Chicago folk revival, a loose collection of artists that included his good friend Steve Goodman (who wrote “City of New Orleans”). John Prine released his self titled debut album in 1971. It was a great record full of spot-on personal sketches of the human condition and what he saw around him. Instead of taking on the Viet Nam war with a polemic, Prine sang songs of a returning vet who was a junkie in “Sam Stone” and the sneakily funny “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You into Heaven Anymore,” along with a touching song about growing old “Hello in There.” Prine had made a strong record right out of the box, and for his troubles he was quickly saddled with the epithet “the new Dylan” — a phrase which would be a death knell for many artists. Prine has shrugged off any comparisons by going his own way, a course that has resulted in a varied and unique career, from the stripped down bluegrass-tinged sound on the 1972 album Diamonds in the Rough, to the more rocking Pink Cadillac (1979) and Storm Windows (1980). In 1991 Prine finally got some well deserved recognition when he won a Grammy for the album The Missing Years. In 1999 — a year after he had an operation for throat cancer — Prine released In Spite of Ourselves, a great album of classic country songs in duets with a bunch of female country artists including Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris. In 2005 he released Fair and Square, his first album of all new material since 1995; it was a sharp album and showed an artist still at the top of his game. In a 1999 interview with Rob O’Conner, Prine offered that “I always had a private theory that if you’ve never had a big hit, it’s hard to go out of fashion because you were never in fashion. If you had a peak, then everybody’s looking to see if you’re up to there. I figure you keep dodging these things and before you know it you’ve been around 50 years. You’ve got no gold watch but lots of friends.”

By: hello from here

my wife and i have tickets to an upcoming show. I was first introduced to john prines music the mid to late seventies and have been onboard since. I would just like to thank john prine for over thirty years of this incredible ability he has.

By: Karen Cohn

I was never a true blue, die hard fan before, but after last night, I am joining the ranks of the people sitting around me singing along with every word John Prine and his amazing bandmates performed. Just loved it. Sarah Watkins was a cherry on top. Please come back to Jersey soon John.


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