I've spent the week singing you songs written by this great songwriter all week. Today I'll expose you to the man himself.
John Prine's songs have always appealed to me from first listen, for the conversational way he tells his stories. Wonderfully poetic, but never pretentious...like listening to an old friend on the next bar stool. An old friend who tells stories really well.
He sings sad songs, happy songs, goofy songs, epic songs. There's not a bad one in the bunch.
And he tells great stories about the songs. Watch this one and listen up.
John was diagnosed with a squamous cell cancer on is neck in 1998. The doctors were prepared to operate, but the tissue that would be affected was dangerously close to his vocal chords and the got word that he was a singer. They expressed their concern to John that he may want to rethink what they were about to do.
John said, "Obviously you've never heard me sing or you wouldn't be concerned. You worry about the surgery...I'll worry about singing when it's over.".
The surgery was a success, but as part of the procedure, they had to remove his salivary glands. To see him sing now is a marvel. He basically has to take a big drink of water to last him through his song. Some of his songs, when combined with his storytelling in concert go on for a loooooooooooong time.
And he sounds great!
We the fans have decided that the added gravel to his voice makes him sound more soulful.
As long as Mr. John Prine feels like singing and writing and telling a story, he will have listeners. We need him more than he needs us.
I'm as giddy as a schoolboy at Christmas when I hear of a new record by him. I hope we have lots more Christmases.
John even says on his Christmas album, "I wish every day was Christmas. Except for Christmas Eve. And the Fourth of July. We wouldn't want to miss out on all those fireworks."
I'm ready for fireworks on Christmas Eve John. Jesus would like that.
Sing us another one.
John Prine himself says he's never done a show without doing this last song. He wrote this song in his early 20's and he shouldn't have been that smart, nobody is, but he did.
He said at the time that "I like old people, and if things work out, I'll get to be one someday."
Happy birthday John. And thank you for a couple decades worth of saying "hello".
Like Prine Shriner's always say, "Whatever you're into...get into Prine." You won't be sorry.
Check out these links for more. His official site and the fully authorized fan site.