In discussion the other evening with my best friend and musical compadre, Jay Oakes, we touched on the matter that success in music can be measured in many ways. To some it is surely fame and fortune. To others maybe the satisfaction of sharing their knowledge with others. For me, other than a fleeting dream in a garage band years ago, and for Jay, we just wanted to write songs and make records. So thanks to the advent of affordable recording technology, those musicians who dream of this can now make it happen. So at the end of the day, no matter how notorius you might end up from your music, just doing it constitutes living the dream!
The first songs of John Prine's I ever remember hearing were John Denver's versions of "Angel from Montgomery" and "Paradise". I loved both then and now 40 years later I still do. Of course this eventually led to "Sam Stone", "Don't Bury Me In The Cold Cold Ground", Grandpa Was A Carpenter", "Christmas in Prison", "Fishin' In Heaven" and many more. Last night at the Paramount Arts Theater in Ashland Ky. Prine put on a great show that seemed to affect me as much by the nostalgia of the old tunes, and the reality of the effects of age on our heros that we grew up with every bit as much as the wonderful songs I came to hear. John has put on a little weight, has less hair and his waddling about the stage kind of reminded me of the penquin's gait in the old BATMAN TV show. John and his two sidemen were dressed in spiffy suits which added to the effect. The playing was loose but honest and when John excused his band for a few solo numbers, the guitar he picked up sounded in bad need of a neck adjustment. The strings rattled and buzzed with his heavy rhythmic strumming and some notes rang far from clear. However as John soldiered on the songs were not diminished by this minor gripe. John's gruff nasal voice rang clear and clean and the emotion his songs stir came through straight to the heart. As all of us old rockers and folkies age it sure is encouraging to see a packed house of appreciative fans come out for this music. Songs never ring truer to me than straight from the writers mouth and as much as I will always love Bonnie Raitt (trust me, I do)hearing "there's flies in the kitchen, I can hear 'em in there buzzing" from John's mouth gave me one more thing to check off of my bucket list. Thank you John Prine for your life and music...and thank you for taking the time to read my first ever "blog". paul