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Green Bay | Sheboygan | Whitewater

Sat March 29, 2008 John Prine in Sheboygan, WI at the Stefanie H. Weill Center For The Performing Arts. opener: Peter Case. Back Up Band: Jason Wilber & Dave Jacques

By: Ken Merrill
  Read the Full preview: here
He's in his Prine: Songwriter coming to Weill Center
   Find a fan of John Prine and you're likely to hear that they're a "big fan." Probably a "huge fan."
   Prine's coming to the Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts on March 29 for an 8 p.m. concert. Opening the bill will be Peter Case, a California singer/songwriter in the John Prine mold. Backing Prine will be Jason Wilber on guitar and Dave Jacques on bass, both of whom have played on three or four of his most recent albums.
   Tickets, at $48 and $43, are available at the Weill Center ticket office, open from noon to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and online at
   Prine is often characterized as the sort of guy you'd like to have a beer with, a workingman's songwriter. He writes about people with a Formica table in the kitchen, mismatched furniture in the living room and a beat-up car parked outside.
       "Someday I'll go and call up Rudy, We worked together at the factory. But what could I say if he asks 'What's new?'
       'Nothing, what's with you? Nothing much to do.'"

       "Hello In There"/John Prine
   The people Prine writes about are often suffering. But he's funny, too, and smart. Make you laugh? Make you cry? Sure. Sometimes in the same song. Sometimes in the same line.
       "I got hired Monday morning, downsized that afternoon.
       Overcome with grief that evening, now I'm crazy as a loon."

       "Crazy as a Loon"/John Prine and Pat McLaughlin
   He doesn't seem like a complicated guy. His story has been recounted elsewhere. A former Chicago mailman, he served a couple of years in the Army stationed in Germany, then came back to Chicago and his mail route. After he got up the courage to take the stage at a small club on open mic night, Prine eventually hooked up with Chicago folkie the late Steve Goodman, who wrote "City of New Orleans," a hit record for Arlo Guthrie. Goodman led to Kris Kristofferson and a recording date in New York.
   Atlantic Records was interested, and the result was an eponymous debut album, released in 1971.
   It may be one of the top 10 debut albums ever. (Hendrix, Elvis Costello, The Clash, Talking Heads … ) There's not a bad cut on the record, including several of his best-known songs. His music is simple, with finger-picked acoustic guitar, a little fiddle and a whisper of pedal steel.
   After a bout with throat cancer in 1998, surgery and radiation therapy changed his voice. It's deeper than it used to be, more gravely. Think mature, soulful and heartfelt.
   Along the way, he's recorded 20 albums, most of them great.
   Prine's most recent album of self-composed songs, "Fair and Square," was released in 2005. His debut as a record producer, it won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. There's not a bad song on this one, either, and his folk sound has evolved. Wilber adds tasty electric guitar licks, and mandolin, accordion and Hammond B3 organ are also used. Check out "Some Humans Ain't Human."
       "Some humans ain't human.   Some people ain't kind.
       You open up their hearts and here's what you'll find.
       A few frozen pizzas, some ice cubes with hair.
       A broken Popsicle,   You don't want to go there."

   Prine's songs have been covered by everybody. Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, Dwight Yoakam, Tammy Wynette, 10,000 Maniacs, Bette Midler, the Everly Brothers and on and on.
   Expect to hear some of his "greatest hits" if you come. "Angel From Montgomery," "Hello in There," "Paradise," "Sam Stone" and "Illegal Smile" may be on the set list, if we're lucky. They're all great. Posters on the Web site "complain" about any greatest hits compilation, saying that the best of John Prine would have to include every song on every album.

By: J. McNeil
Hell of a show you put on John, my wife and our best friends went together. Tipped a few beforehand and had great stories about our younger years at your concerts. We all may have aged, but your songs and showmanship are better than ever, it took me back to when we were young pups. His sidemen are a true talent and compliment John's music very well. He played a little bit from all of his song list and it had us laughing one minute and choking back tears the next. Please come back soon and we'll bring along more friends!! Thanks for one of the best evenings I have had in a very long time

By: crusher

  All shows this year have been very good shows with John feeling good and wearing his happy feet each night...each show was special in it's own way.
  40 of us got together on a Feb. winter night for a snow and ice storm with temps of 30 below zero wind chill, it was so very nasty outside but with great music and warm hearts like Reeda, Darlene, Char and many others inside. It was a great night to be in Whitewater Wisconsin. Lots of hotels sold out that night, and the next day it warmed up to about minus 25 and we all made it home safe!!
   Wish you could have all been there.... stay warm and safe everyone! ~ crusher


Fri March 28 John Prine in Green Bay, WI at the Weidner Center, UWGB Campus - opener: Peter Case. back up band: Jason Wilber, Dave Jacques

By: Hal Conroy

The first half of the show was great but the crowd didn't seem quite as lively. Prine and his back up band seemed like they rushed through the songs. John Prine mentioned that the Dave Jacques' wife was going to have a baby "any minute now" and I wondered if that had something to do with the concert seeming somewhat rushed. They did add some amazing twists and electric jams to his songs and Jason Wilber is such a great talent and wonderful addition to the band! Thanks John, and did the bass player make it to see his baby or was I just dreaming?

By: Kendra Meinert
Prine warms Weidner crowd with stories, song
   With a voice that sounded like an old friend and a smile that could melt the last stubborn snow banks of March, John Prine made more than two hours of songs feel like a Friday night spent around that storied kitchen table of his paging through a cherished family scrapbook.
   Sam Stone was there, his Vietnam War veteran story just as tragic as it was decades ago. There were young lovers Donald and Lydia -- the daughter of Virginia and Ray still feeling "just like Sunday on Saturday afternoon.'' Dear Abby, Elephant Boy in his brown corduroy and, for levity, Space Monkey, showed up, too.
   "I haven't sang this one in a while. Here it goes, hang on to your kids,'' Prine said before launching into the comical tale of the monkey the Russians launched into orbit and then forgot about. He had to pause twice at his own laughter in getting the lyrics out. "Aw, geez ... I've got to remember to rehearse.'' All part of the charm of a John Prine show.
   One of the greatest songwriters of a generation didn't just bring to life the familiar characters of his folk-country songs, he took about 1,000 of his fans at the Weidner Center back down familiar roads, to Montgomery, Lake Marie, Green River and Bear Creek. He revisited old friends. "That's for Steve Goodman,'' he said after playing "Souvenirs,'' a song he wrote in the car on his way to a gig at a Chicago club back some 40 years ago when he was still working as a postal carrier by day.
   He sent out "She Is My Everything'' to his wife, Fiona. He called out fellow folkie Peter Case, who opened the show, to join him on "Paradise,'' a collaboration that evoked wishes of more to come, rather than the harmonious close to a night that had already clocked in at nearly three hours of music.
   And lest anyone should forget in this big old goofy world that there is great joy to be found in the simple things, he turned "fish and whistle, whistle and fish'' into the feel-good sentiment of the night. Accompanied by Jason Wilber on guitar and Dave Jacques on bass, the 61-year-old Prine, dressed in a black suit, walked out without introduction, strapped on an acoustic guitar and played his well-worn opener of choice, "Spanish Pipedream (Blow Up Your TV).'' "Nothin' like them old songs,'' he said. For the rest of the night, it would be a toss-up as to which was more engaging, the stories he told between songs or the stories he told through song.
   The beauty of Prine's music has always been that it can break your heart one minute and make you break into laughter the next. For every line as clever as "I felt about as welcome as a Wal-Mart Superstore'' in "Taking a Walk,'' there was the mournful picture of aging painted in "Hello in There.'' Prine's fingers flew on "Bear Creek Blues'' and "Lake Marie,'' both spit out as ferocious three-guitar attacks, but it was tough to beat the way "Storm Windows'' and "Angel from Montgomery'' wafted through the hall like sad country songs.
   If there's another performer who can deliver a concert as warm, genuine and personal as a Prine show, his fans will tell you they've yet to experience it.

Venue: Weidner Center, UWGB, Green Bay, WI | Date: Friday March 28 8pm

By: Kendra Meinert
PREVIEW: Read the full Preview here:
   There's no rushing folk legend Prine
   John Prine's not the kind of artist who makes fast work of cranking out new albums. Not even close.
Sometimes the better part of a decade can go by between releases. His most recent, the Grammy Award-wining "Fair & Square,'' came out in 2005, which means his incredibly loyal — and patient — fans can expect the next one in …
   "I haven't even started the next record,'' he says, laughing, when he calls from Florida, where he's been fishing for grouper with his oldest brother.
   "I tend to procrastinate,'' he says. "I need to get kicked in the pants every once in a while.''
If there's an ease, an effortlessness, a well-worn familiarity to Prine's music, it's because his songs are never rushed. It's a work ethic that has served the former Chicago-area mailman well for nearly four decades now, establishing him as one of this generation's great American folk lyricists.
For anybody who has ever experienced the warmth and laid-back charm of his live shows, it's hardly a surprise to learn the 61-year-old doesn't write on demand. You don't get gems like "Sam Stone,'' "Lake Marie,'' "Angel from Montgomery,'' "Illegal Smile,'' "It's a Big Old Goofy World'' and "Hello in There'' like that.
   "I like to just knock around and do my stuff until an idea comes along, and if it seems good enough to turn into a song, that's great,'' he says. "That's usually how it has gone over the years, but when I get free time now, the last thing I want to do is sit down. I might get an idea for a song, because I still enjoy writing, but to make myself sit down and finish it, it's like I have to put a ball and chain on my foot.''
   His songs are chocked full of simple details, wry humor and sometimes heartbreaking observations. He might forget what he went to pick up at his neighborhood grocery store in Nashville, where he has lived for nearly 30 years, but he could come home with an idea for a song that he'll let knock around in his head for as long as it takes.
   "By the time I write the song down, it's done. It's done in my mind already. … I'm just writing it down so I don't forget it.''
   What he'll play during his return to the Weidner Center on Friday night is anybody's guess. He has an amazing catalogue to choose from, and even his generous two-hour-plus shows provide but a sampling.
"What I try and do rather than outguess the audience or guess what they want or when they want it, I just go out there and figure if  I can make myself truly enjoy the songs — because some of them I've sang hundreds, if not thousands, of times — then I've got a good chance of entertaining them, because I don't think anybody likes to see anything better than someone having a good time.''
   He tries to keep some parts of his set the same to gauge where he's at, "because otherwise I could go on way past the time the promoter has rented the hall for.'' He usually throws in a few he hasn't done the night before to keep him on his toes, he says, and some the fans shout out.
   Prine and his fans go back to the 1970s when he was playing clubs with his good buddy Steve Goodman. They've seen him through 20 albums, countless collaborations, the launch of his own Oh Boy record label and a throat cancer scare 10 years ago.
   "During the lean years, they supported me. When I first started my record company, they were the first ones to send in checks and say, 'I want that record. I don't care what it's called or what day it comes out, I want to be the first one to have it.'
"On the other hand, in the last 15 years in particular, we've picked up a lot of younger fans. That's good for my future,'' he jokes.
When he does get around to making that next record, he'll commit to a full-blown, coast-to-coast tour. He makes a point to play everywhere, not just big cities, when he puts a record out. Smaller cities, like Fargo, N.D., and Santa Fe, N.M., have become strong markets for him.
   A low-key artist who is happy to fly under the radar, he likes that he can breeze in and out of a city without much fuss.
"I don't like a whole lot of press. I can usually walk off stage after a show and go to the grocery store and nobody would recognize me, so that's really great. For a couple of hours on stage, you're a hero, and you just walk off and nobody bugs you. It's like having it both ways.''

* **Why Prine's sweet on Wisconsin: "I'll tell you what, and I'm not kidding you, I've always had an affinity for Wisconsin,'' John Prine says. "When I was growing up in Chicago, that was about as far as we could go on a vacation. My dad could only afford maybe three or four days vacation, and we'd go up to Wisconsin. The people up there were a lot like my mom and dad's friends in Chicago … just the same sort of people and same values. "You get up to Wisconsin and people in general seem glad to be there. It's not like, 'If I could only get out of here and go to California.' People are glad, even way up north where you guys are. They're proud of it, and they love it.''

   Do it
   Who: John Prine, with Peter Case | When: 8 p.m. Friday March 28, 2008| Where: Weidner Center, UWGB
Tickets: $51.50, $43, $39; (920) 465-2217 or

Sat, February 9, 2008 John Prine at Young Auditorium, Whitewater, WI with guest Iris DeMent. back up band: Jason Wilber, Dave Jacques - surprise guest: Billy Prine

By: Reeda Buresh - webmistress to Prine

We had been looking forward to this concert since we purchased the presale tickets from Music Fans Direct back in October 2007. The thought of another nice back road drive to my favorite area in Wisconsin to see my favorite artist whooshed me past any holiday stress. Iris DeMent was posted as the opening artist and I knew it was going to be special. Her perfect pitched old tymie betty boopish voice sooths his rough edges and it's like the waves hitting the sand. I grew anxious and hopeful for this one. Read my long rambling often repetitive and full of drool and choppy sentences story here:

By: Reg the irreg
Rock on dude! man, can you play. Talk about hell fire in the middle of a blizzard! I never thought I would get my rocks off as much as I did going to a folkie concert! you da man. Think I'm coming to Sheboygan just to make sure that it wasn't a fluke. Lake Marie was killer so was that "Ain't Hurting Nobody". You can pen them, a week later and I'm still stupefied. Thanks man, you changed my views of folkies and old dudes. You ain't and I want to grow up and be like you! That little red head has a killer voice, she makes you look and sound better - better keep her close. thanks man, it was a pleasure

By: Chloe' in Wisconsin
I'd never been to Whitewater before, nor had I ever seen Iris Dement. It's been at least 25 years since I last saw Prine. Why did I wait so long? Iris opened the show telling us all to drive safe and she played beautiful piano - partway through her set they seemed to connect up another mike and were we ever in for a musical ride. John and his sidemen really looked like they were having fun, not just doing their jobs. He had a frog in his throat during the first few songs, but it only enhanced the song and then his voice warmed up and it only got better. He and Iris sound wonderful together, she came out 3 times to sing with him. His sidemen are quite the talented duo - This was the best concert I had been to in a long time, no garbage to deal with as in techno pyrics. What a fantastic night! Thanks John

By: BillH
First Prine concert I have been to and I have to say it was spectacular! John could barely speak yet he gave us his all for almost 2 1/2 hours. Iris was great as well the acoustics could have been better but no complaints will I give the show was one of my favorite shows I have ever seen. I have been a Prine fan for 10 years or so and seeing him live was a spiritual event for me. John was brilliant. I just have to find out how I can meet John now to tell him how much his music touches my soul!

By: Carol (gimpy) Manitowoc, Wi

Hi Priners! I don't know enough about sound and technical stuff to know the difference. What I can say is again, (since I've gone to quite a few Prine shows) it was an evening well spent, put my mind at ease and a smile on my face. Wonderful to see Iris, she's so warm and has such a pretty and unusual voice. I enjoyed the piano a lot-often don't hear piano at the shows I go to-very pretty. John and the boys are so talented. They played a great selection and also the duets with Iris were a treat. John has such a contagious smile and is so humble and charming. I love to see him having a good time and he genuinely seems to get a kick out of the whole thing. I guess he had a cold-felt for him-maybe he would have rather been in bed with the Vicks! He's my all time favorite singer/songwriter-I don't think I could ever say anything about his show that wasn't positive. At the hotel we met some of the musicians, crew, and fans. Great people-great conversation! I can't wait! I get to go to 2 more shows in WI in March and with some of my favorite people-my sisters

By: TradJazz
Been a fan since his first album on vinyl (still have it) and went to the presentation last night. Mixed review as the acoustics in Young are very good, enhancing not only 'good' sound but 'not so good' as well. The stage sound needed to be better balanced as the bass end was dreadfully over-driven and booming. This over-whelmed the vocal effort of our man and some of the stuff might just as well have been in russian as it was unintelligible. Same with the piano for Iris' work. Crew should have done their work prior to the start of the concert and made it right. The enthusiastic audience deserved Prime Prine and got a little bit less... That said, however, the performance was greatly more than one would have expected. JP work and worked hard for nearly 2-1/2 hrs. The man seemed tireless and it is apparent that he is dedicated to giving his best efforts and then a whole lot more. When he went solo without the sidemen, the overall improved dramatically and thereby saved what could have been a bit dismal presentation. I am considering catching him again in Sheboygan, just to get a hopefully better live presentation and fully enjoy the experience.

By: Ben R
Great concert (as usual); only...Hey John - go someplace WARM ins February, and come here in the summer! That was one hell of a drive.


By: Ben Carrel

Full Preview here
Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter John Prine will make an appearance at the Young Auditorium on Saturday at 8 p.m., with special guest Iris DeMent.
   Prine is expected to perform songs from his latest solo offering, "Fair and Square." The album debuted nine years after his Grammy-nominated album, "Lost Dos and Mixed Blessings." The album debuted at number seven on Billboard Magazine's Top 20 Internet Album Sales chart and recorded the fastest rise to number one in the history of Americana radio. "Fair and Square" won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 2006. Many devoted fans argue it is one of the best albums Prine has ever released.
   Born in Maywood, Ill. on October 10, 1946, Prine's works of songwriting, singing and guitar playing has been compared to legendary music icons such as Bonnie Raitt, George Strait and Johnny Cash.
   The cost of the tickets are between $29 and $49 and can be purchased online at the Young Auditorium Web site.


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