December 8 John Prine at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts in Pittsburgh, PA with Support: Todd Snider. Back up Band: Jason Wilber and Dave Jacques
By: Adrian McCoy, Post-Gazette staff writer
full article here
It was the Benedum on a cold December night, but it felt more like a big, inviting front porch on a summer evening when singer/songwriter John Prine took the stage.
Prine's songs are multifaceted gems that explore the highs and lows of human experience, weaving stories that can be either tragic or comic.
Saturday's show was a two-hour journey through an amazing songwriting career, and it didn't matter that much of the material is going into its fourth decade. Backed by a guitar and bass duo, he opened on a high note with "Spanish Pipedream" and went through a catalog of vintage Prine -- "Souvenirs," "Grandpa Was a Carpenter," "Fish and Whistle" and "Angel in Montgomery."
A solo set featured more of his best material: the satiric "Dear Abby," "You Got Gold," "Donald and Lydia," "Ain't Hurtin' Nobody" and "Sam Stone," the story of a haunted Vietnam veteran/drug addict that hasn't lost its edge.
He dedicated a song to the memory of a former Pittsburgher -- piano player Charles Cochran -- who was killed in a traffic accident in June: Titled "Hello in There," it was an ode to the loneliness and isolation of old age, which he described as "the prettiest song I ever wrote." That may be true, but judging by the retrospective he presented on Saturday night, it has some pretty tough competition.
When the musicians came back on stage, they kicked it up a notch with a charged-up "Sweet Revenge" and an exquisite interpretation of "Lake Marie."
For the encore, he served up a seasonal offering from his Christmas album, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," and a mellow version of a Prine favorite, "Paradise."
Alt-country singer/songwriter Todd Snider's spare solo acoustic guitar and humor were a good opening to Prine. Snider tapped into local sports folklore with a song about the 1970 game in which former Pirate Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter under the influence of LSD. He followed that with a hilarious Arlo Guthrie-style monologue about how psychedelic mushrooms ended his high school football playing days.
John and the band put their hearts and souls into the show. What a Christmas gift! Unlike Art in a post below, I was thrilled that the crowd refrained from singing. I want to hear the artist singing their songs. I can sing as loud as I want on the drive home. A memorable night.
By: Art Leavens
Fourth concert. Toronto, Seattle twice, now Pittsburgh, all with my wife. My 15 year old son and 11 year old daughter joined us also for their first "Prining". Awesome show. John is an icon, plain and simple. I wasn't disappointed by his set, only the crowd didn't sing much. It was like they were too embarrassed to let go just because the venue was an upscale opera house. This is Pittsburgh dammit! We can party too! :)
John put on a great show as always. Even played a christmas song. Happy Holidays John... Thanks for the memories. Dave
By: Regis Behe
full preview here
Music: In his Prine -
Thursday, December 6, 2007
John Prine came of age during the 1960s, playing coffeehouses in Chicago while working as a postman. When he started performing nationally -- via a boost from Kris Kristofferson, no less -- he met with moderate success, at best. But other musicians saw something in Prine's work that the general public missed. Bette Midler covered "Hello in There," and Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi and Carly Simon are among those who have done versions of "Angel From Montgomery." And for those who love Prine on his own, there are the wonderful song titles he pens: "Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone," "The Oldest Baby in the World" or "Yes, They Oughta Name a Drink After You."
Prine performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Benedum Center, Downtown. Todd Snider also is on the bill. Tickets range from $43 to $53.
Details: 412-456-6666, www.pgharts.org.
Saturday, June 16, 2007 - Philadelphia, PA John Prine with special guest Patty Griffin at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts with back up band: Dave Jacques and Jason Wilber
Great photos of John Prine, Amos Lee and Patty Griffin at the Mann are posted here at Paste Magazine
By: Lilndsay Warner, The Bulletin
PRINE, GRIFFIN PERFORM SUMMER TUNES AT MANN
Full Review here: here
Philadelphia - The Mann Center for the Performing Arts resonated with the sweet chords of Patty Griffin and John Prine on Saturday night, as the two took the stage for a melodious summer concert.
Griffin, whose most recent CD is Children Running Through, released earlier this spring, opened the show with her characteristiccally strong vocals and sharp lyrics, captivating the audience with her boundless energy and guitar jams. She rocked out with old favorites like "Love Throws A Line," strumming with electric guitar accompaniment by her four-person band, and sang with poignant clarity ballads like "Sooner or Later," from her Silver Bells CD. Slower ballads and less accompaniment resonated more strongy in the echoing acoustics of The Mann, as Griffin's voice, though powerful and edgy, was lost under the bass guitar and percussion in the larger ensemble numbers, shining through with more ease on her vocal duets with her guitar or with just one or two of the ensemble.
A "rock chick" that still maintains her classic femininity and warm style, Griffins opening for John Prine was an enjoyable tribute to the singer's classic style and intelligent lyrics.
Prine stepped up to the microphone at dusk, performing a varied review of pieces from the past, and from his new CD Fair and Square, finally released in 2005 by the Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter, who took a nine-year hiatus between records. He's polished up his repertoire and his style over his vacation, and has returned strong as ever, singing favorites such as "Sam Stone," "Angel from Montgomery," "Dear Abby" and "Six O'clock News."
Prine performed several humorous/political pieces on Saturday, beginning with his opening tune, "Your Flag Decal Wont Get You Into Heaven Anymore," from his self-titled 1971 album. His fingers still fly across the strings on rollicking tunes like this, backed up by players on bass guitar, electric guitar, banjo and percussion. Following with "Souvenirs," a song Prine claimed would earn him whatever he wanted for dinner when he sang it for his mother; Prine continued his fingerpicking style with "Grandpa Was A Carpenter."
Prine's humor surfaced often during the concert through his introductions to songs and through his lyrics, but a large portion of the concert featured Prine's more mellow side, as he accompanied himself on guitar. Griffin joined him for two songs, one the whimsical, "In Spite of Ourselves," lending a good balance and depth to Prine's performance.
Most disappointing, Griffin left the stage just before "Angel From Montgomery," which, sung only by Prine in a monotone, lost the spirit and flair found in his earlier collaboration with Bonnie Raitt. The program dipped into obscurity at this point, losing energy and seemingly only appealing to the real die-hard Prine fans.
Regaining vitality when Prine swapped his acoustic for an electric guitar, he revived the show with a bluesy beat mixed with an electric riff in a relaxed, but interesting groove near the end of the concert.
Prine and Griffin performed a perfect evening of summer jams Saturday night, and if small glitches in sound blending or low-key vibes were also present, it didn't affect the mood of the near-full crowd filling the Mann, or the luxury of chilling out on a warm summer evening for some easy-listening jams by two of America's favorites.
By: Dan DeLuca - Inquirer Music Critic
Prine and his songs have both aged well
full story here
John Prine's self-titled debut album came out in 1971, packed with cunning tunes of tragic wit and empathy that seemed to have sprung from the pen of a songwriter far older and wiser than his 24 years.
Three and a half decades on, Prine still uses those songs as the backbone of his live show, which he brought to the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Fairmount Park on Saturday night.
To say they have aged well would be an understatement, and not just those informed by Prine's experience as a Vietnam veteran, such as the heartbreaking heroin-overdose song "Sam Stone," which despairs that "Jesus Christ died for nothin', I suppose." Or the pointed "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You into Heaven Anymore," which rhymes with "It's already overcrowded from your dirty little war."
That also goes for the eco-anthem "Paradise," which appeared as an encore with assistance from Philadelphia Prine acolyte Amos Lee. And it is especially true of "Angel From Montgomery," a song better known in its version by Bonnie Raitt, as well as the compassionate plea that attention be paid, "Hello In There," his masterful, moving respect-your-elders song.
Much respect was given Prine by Patty Griffin, who warmed the crowd with pristine folk-rock songs drawn from her fine Children Running Through, and joined him for the perverse romance "In Spite Of Ourselves." And the enthusiastic audience of Prine's peers took great pleasure in singing along to mischievous songs such as "Illegal Smile," even if many were unable to carry a tune in a wheelbarrow.
Standard Songs For Average People, Prine's new album of country duets with Mac Wiseman, is winningly sentimental. He chose to completely ignore it, though, instead playing songs spanning his career with deft backing by multi-instrumentalist Jason Wilber and bass player Dave Jacques.
Prine's guitar playing was spry, and his voice raspy and resonant, oddly fuller sounding since he survived neck cancer. He looked every inch the wizened character he once wrote about in "Grandpa Was A Carpenter," and he was happy to rummage through his back catalog. But as comforting as his music can be, the best of his newer songs, like "Lake Marie," didn't shy away from describing a messy, often violent reality beneath the folksy surface. Just like his old ones did, that he wrote as a young man.
By: Tom Wilk
Prine Griffin to Share Mann Stage
On his self-titled debut album in 1971, singer/songwriter John Prine made his mark with such memorable songs as "Sam Stone," a character study of a disillusioned Vietnam War veteran, and "Hello In There," a tale of senior citizen loneliness.
For "Standard Songs for Average People" (Oh Boy), Prine tries a different approach, recording an album of his favorite songs with bluegrass legend Mac Wiseman. Prine, 60, and Wiseman, 82, sound like two old friends, trading songs on their front porch.
The material covers a lot of musical territory, ranging from "Where The Blue of the Night" and "Old Cape Cod," hits for Bing Crosby and Patti Page, respectively, to "In The Garden" and "Old Rugged Cross," a pair of gospel standards. "In The Garden" has a South Jersey connection as it was written by C. Austin Miles of Pitman.
Prine will be singing songs from all stages of his career when he performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia. Patty Griffin opens the show. Tickets are $39 to $75. For information, call (215) 893-1999 or visit www.mann center.org.
By: Jonathan Valania for the Inquirer
PREVIEW - The Mann - Philadelphia, PA - June 16, 2007
Review/Interview found here
Iraq vets know pain of 'Sam Stone'
John Prine's Vietnam War-era tune still hits home.
Funny how the more wars change, the more they stay the same. In 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War, John Prine, quintessential Americana songwriter, then fresh out of the Army and well-acquainted with the Catch 22s of a soldier's life, wrote "Sam Stone."
You may not recognize it from the title, but you have heard this song. Detailing the post-traumatic stress of a Vietnam vet all but abandoned by the country he nobly served, the lyric goes: "There's a hole in Daddy's arm where all the money goes/ Jesus Christ died for nothing, I suppose."
Intended as a snapshot of a bleak moment in time, Prine never meant for the song to remain so painfully relevant almost 40 years later.
"At the time, I fully expected the song to be irrelevant by the end of Vietnam," Prine said earlier this week during a rare interview from his home in Nashville.
In the wake of recent disclosures of shabby treatment of disabled vets at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and a growing chorus of disgruntled Iraq war vets going public with tales of the government giving them the short end of the stick, the song retains a tragic currency.
"But the demand for it only gets stronger - I've never been able to give a concert without playing it," says Prine who performs Saturday at the Mann, bringing the music of his just-released Standard Songs for Average People, an album of duets with bluegrass pioneer Mac Wiseman.
While the theme extends the theory that the war is creating yet another lost generation of damaged young men neglected by the government they served and invisible to the citizenry they defended, there is a crucial difference between Iraq and Vietnam, says Prine.
"Back then, there was a silent majority that might question the patriotism of people who spoke out against the war, but nobody in the government would ever talk like that," Prine said. "Today, it's the vice president that talks like that. That's really dirty stuff. I can't believe that in 2007 people are acting like this. It's really not progress."
John Prine, with Patty Griffin, at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mann Center Box Office, 5201 Parkside Ave. Tickets: $39-$59. Phone: 215-893-1999.
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