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The Classic Center Theater, Athens, GA - March 8, 2002


By: Julie Powel
    ''It's a great feeling when you put something in a song and other people say that's exactly how they feel,'' says John Prine, one of America's great living songwriters. ''That's the most gratifying thing about songwriting for me.'' Special ''Writing is about a blank piece of paper and leaving out what's not supposed to be there.'' So says one of America's great living songwriters, John Prine. Prine will be in Athens Friday, March 8 to present an evening of songs like ''Angel from Montgomery,'' ''Don't Bury Me'' and ''Illegal Smile.'' His last album, 15 new recordings of classic songs called ''Souvenirs,'' was released in 2000. Have faith aspiring singer/songwriters: Prine, too, made his debut at an open mic. The story goes that, fueled by a few beers and the confidence he could do better than anyone else he'd seen than night, Prine took his guitar to the stage and played a set of ''Sam Stone,'' ''Hello in There'' and ''Paradise.'' ''There were all these amateurs that were getting up,'' recalled Prine in an interview for his label, Oh Boy Records (Prine is not granting interviews for this tour), ''and they were terrible. I got up and played, and everyone seemed to like it.'' The club owner was so impressed he offered Prine a gig. Prine asked how long he'd need to play, then went home and wrote enough songs to complete a set. This would become the material for his self-tiled 1971 debut album (Atlantic), because not long after that first gig, Steve Goodman heard him and soon brought Kris Kristofferson to the club to see him, which ultimately resulted in Prine's deal with Atlantic. From that point on, Prine was lavished with praise from critics around the country, and artists from Better Midler to Johnny Cash started singing his songs.
    John Prine When: 8 p.m. Friday, March 8 Where: The Classic Center Theater, 300 N. Thomas St. Cost: $28.50 and $32.50 Call: (706) 357-4444
    ''It's a great feeling when you put something in a song and other people say that's exactly how they feel. That's the most gratifying thing about songwriting for me. It's always been a real outlet for me -- being able to put those feelings down.'' Capturing those universal emotions has never been hard for Prine. ''I don't struggle much over songs because I know that the more I labor with something on the writing side, the more unsettled with it I am in the end,'' said Prine. ''But when I write something straight from the gut -- don't question it, don't try to think to myself whether it's good or not -- when a song comes like that, to me, it stays fresher longer.'' As for songwriting technique? ''I've got no idea what it is I do. I don't know if I'm just being lazy or what, but if I say I'm going to write tomorrow morning, I can sit down and I can probably tell in the first 15 minutes if there's going to be anything. Even before I write something down, I can tell by how hard I'm thinking about getting out of there. ''It's like a prison to me. And it used to be my only getaway from the rest of the world. To go to my room and write a song when I was a kid. And so I still really appreciate wherever it comes from, and I'm trying to protect that. I'm trying to do my job and protect that at the same time. How can I be innocent about something that I explored so damn much, you know? And I'm in no hurry. Because if you write a bunch of mediocre ones, people go, 'Writin' anything new, got anything new?' It's kind of like, 'Got anything we haven't heard? 'Cause we don't care about the old stuff.'' Prine's old stuff ... gold.
    Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Thursday, March 7, 2002.

By: John J. Wood
Many thanks to John, Jason Wilbur & David Jacques for a wonderful show last night. Also, thanks to the Classic Center...a real nice, well-designed theatre. Living in New England, numerous theatres
are old and in need of reconditioning. It was so
nice to sit in a comfortable theatre with plenty
of leg room.

Spanish Pipedream
Six O'clock News
Fish & Whistle
Grandpa Was A Carpenter
Far From Me
All The Best
Angel From Montgomery
That's The Way That The World Goes Round*
Dear Abby*
Mexican Home*
Bottomless Lake*
Donald & Lydia*
The Other Side Of Town*
In Spite Of Ourselves*
Sam Stone*#
Ain't Hurtin' Nobody
Great Rain
Bear Creek Blues
The Sins Of Memphisto
Hello In There
Lake Marie

Please Don't Bury Me
Illegal Smile

* John solo
# Jason & David join in during 2nd verse.

    There were a few technical glitches in the first two songs due to problems from wiring attached to Jason's mic. Otherwise, John was lyrically sharp and in fine voice (better than 6 months ago in Northampton, where he was fighting a cold).
    Thank you, John and Athens for a gooood night!:-)

John Prine visits the Classic City

Published , March 08, 2002, 12:00:01 PM EDT
by-- Kyle Wehrend
John Prine definitely has gotten by on his own terms -- but not without a little help from his friends.

When & Where: 8 Tonight at Classic Center
Tickets: $28.50-$32.50
Information: 357-4444

    After getting his first record contract with the aid of fellow musician Kris Kristofferson, Prine later moved on to his first Grammy Award for Best Modern Folk Album with the help of his friends Tom Petty, Bonnie Raitt and Bruce Springsteen, according to (www.jpshrine.org).
Heralding comparisons to Mark Twain for his storytelling, Prine has gained quite a following of listeners anxious to hear his next installment of musical vignettes. One song is even a dialogue between Prine and Mark Twain entitled "Great Rain."
    Prine's backwoods sound originates from Kentucky style. Growing up in a Chicago suburb, much of what Prine learned about music was taught to him by his family, according to (www.jpshrine.org).
    Two divorces, three wives and more than 20 albums later, Prine still is going strong and making people laugh as he heads to the Classic Center at 8 tonight.