After letter carrying and a stint in the Army, Prine gave songwriting and performing a try. Not a bad decision. By 1980, nearly a decade after his well-received debut, Prine moved to Nashville; a year later he formed his own label Oh Boy Records with manager Al Bunetta. Among Prine's Oh Boy releases are Grammy winners The Missing Years (1991) and Fair & Square (2005).
He is now touring in support of his latest release In Person & On Stage, a live collection of 14 career-spanning songs. And, indirectly, he is supporting Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, a June release of Prine covers by some of today's hippest artists including The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Drive-By Truckers, Josh Ritter, and Louisville's own My Morning Jacket, covering All The Best.
Despite never making chart-topping records, Prine has enjoyed a richly successful 40-year career, earning a loyal fan base and immense respect from peers and critics alike. He has sung with Margo Timmons, Iris DeMent, Dar Williams, Nanci Griffith, and Emmylou Harris to name a few. He has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and John Mellencamp. He even had a small role in Mellencamp's 1992 film Falling From Grace. And perhaps the highest compliment is when other notable songwriters cover a writer's songs. Songwriters who have recorded Prine compositions include Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, the Everly Brothers, John Denver, Kris Kristofferson, Natalie Merchant, Carly Simon, and Ben Harper.
Prine's songs capture people with a respectful and accurate eye. They are often a combination of laughter and ters that, while often a delicate balance for any writer, depict how life truly is. He observes and writes about seemingly ordinary lives, which can be extraordinary. In 2003, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for songwriting by the UK's BBC Radio 2 and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Oh and since he'll be in Kentucky for the Palace show, it's a good bet he'll perform Paradise, a song from his 1971 self-titled debut album that he wrote for his father about coal mining in the Bluegrass. ("And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County.")
Prine's opening act Sara Watkins was impressive when she played in town at Forecastle Festival this July. While fans remember her from Nickle Creek, she has been touring seemingly constantly over the past year promoting her fine eponymous debut, which was produced by Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones. She wrote or co-wrote eight of the 14 songs on the record, but she also can make her fiddle sing to old songs by the likes of Jimmie Rodgers and John Hartford.
Tickets for this Friday's show are $75.00, $55.00, and $45.00. For ticket information, contact The Louisville Palace box office.
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