R.I.P., John Prine

That Next World Orchestra just keeps getting bigger and better.

I met John Prine once, at the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 20th-anniversary show at Denver McNichols Arena in 1986, and don’t I wish I could have a do-over for those few moments.

My guitar and I were butchering a few choice selections from his first, self-titled album and “Sweet Revenge” just this afternoon.

Well, mostly it was me. Wasn’t the guitar’s fault. Sure as shit wasn’t John Prine’s fault. Plenty of people — poets, musicians, authors, and journalists — would call it a career after writing a line as good as “There’s a hole in Daddy’s arm where all the money goes.” He wrote whole albums that good and just kept on writing them.

Condolences and peace to all who loved him. This ol’ man has finally gone to town. Here’s The New York Times obit. And here’s a note from John’s wife, Fiona.


13 Responses to “R.I.P., John Prine”

  1. Chris Coursey Says:

    When I get to them pearly gates… I’m gonna have a cocktail Vodka and ginger ale Gonna smoke a cigarette that’s nine mile long Gonna kiss a pretty girl Ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl ‘Cause this old man’s goin’ to town!



  2. khal spencer Says:

    Sigh. He gave it the good fight but as the news keeps saying, those who have comorbidities have a rough time with this virus. RIP.

  3. khal spencer Says:

  4. Hurben Says:

    That’s really sad news, for the last few years I’ve kept thinking that things couldn’t get worse but 2020 is proving me wrong..

  5. Shawn in the Gorge Says:

    I got a chance to hear John Prine back in about 1971 on an LP that my brother picked up. As a snot nosed troublemaker then, I think that I was able to slow down for a minute and wonder about the lyricist songwriter. My brother who plays and sings a little called me earlier tonight and gave me the news. He was crying.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Sad news indeed, for anyone who loves writing. I was listening to a Paul Ingles documentary on John Prine the other day and one of the interviewees was discussing a long break he took from songwriting.

      He basically explained that as a songwriter John was a prisoner of his catalogue, which started so strongly with his first album, “John Prine.” He had set himself a high standard. He had to write a John Prine song, which was a high bar to hop.

      One of my favorite poets, Ted Kooser, said of Prine: “He’s taken ordinary people and made monuments of them, treating them with great respect and love.”

      And with humor, too. Speaking of his final studio album, “The Tree of Forgiveness,” John said he wrestled with the big issues: “mortality and love and pork chops.”

  6. Pat O’Brien Says:

  7. carl duellman Says:

    i’ve seen him several times over the years. always a class act. he always told the story of someone wanting to hear the happy enchilada song. the person was misunderstanding the song where he sings half an inch of water and you think you’re going to drown. well, happy enchilada john prine.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Definitely an old-school entertainer. A lot of patter between tunes. Leo Kottke was the same way when we saw him in Greality. At one point he went off into a long, rambling tale about how as a child he used to have to share a bed with his brothers. One night he told them he was going to try to spit on the ceiling. They pulled the covers up over their heads. He farted.

      Now that’s entertainment.

  8. Dale Says:

    John’s last walk.

  9. khal spencer Says:

    Another eulogy in the Grey Lady

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