Prine: Then and Now

John Prine's something old, something new

Saturday night offers too many choices in Geezerville, with Richard Thompson and Eliza Gilkyson in the Union Ballroom, Kenny Loggins (I kid!) at the One World Theatre, Daniel Johnston as Danny & the Nightmares at the Parish, and John Prine holding down his second sold-out night at the Paramount. Personally, I'll be at the Michael Franti & Spearhead throw-down at Stubb's, but only because I've already seen Prine and Thompson countless times over the years, and Franti will bring something fresh to my folk-weary ears.

If you're a Prine fan, though, there's excitement on the horizon, in the form of a couple of upcoming releases. Shout! Factory will be releasing the DVD Live on Soundstage 1980 on March 27. It's relatively brief, at almost exactly one hour, but offers a entertaining glimpse of where Prine was musically around the time of Bruised Orange and Pink Cadillac. There's a touch more rockabilly than one might expect from Prine, as the latter album was recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis, but that means a special appearance by Mr. "Red Hot" Billy Lee Riley and an enthusiastic run through "Ubangi Stomp." Of note are a couple of acoustic tracks recorded in the back yard of his boyhood home in Maywood, Ill., including a version of "Paradise" that's the definition of "getting back to one's roots." Not essential but interesting if only to prove that "alternative country" existed long before the term was coined. Prine's band combines folk and rock with pedal steel and fiddle in several obvious ways.

Not due until April 24 is Standard Songs for Average People (Oh Boy), a collection of duets with Mac Wiseman. Prine had never met the bluegrass legend - Wiseman worked with Flatt & Scruggs and Bill Monroe in the Forties - until songwriter and producer Cowboy Jack Clement got them together. After their first meeting, they decided to make a list of songs they'd like to record - with no restrictions as to age or genre. When they compared lists, they had seven songs in common, which they saw as a sign that they should record together. The rough-hewn results are filled with spunk and compassion. They draw on old songs – some well-known, others obscure – from Bob Wills, Tom T. Hall, Kris Kristofferson, Bing Crosby, and others for a set that feels timeless and filled with love.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More John Prine
John Prine Gets to Heaven
John Prine Gets to Heaven
And welcomes surprise guest Tyler Childers

Kevin Curtin, June 6, 2018

John Prine Will Live Forever
John Prine Will Live Forever
Songman gives Austin a taste of paradise

Kevin Curtin, May 18, 2015

More DVDs
Cabin Fever DVDs: Lars Nilsen
Cabin Fever DVDs: Lars Nilsen
Film rental picks for a frigid forecast

Marc Savlov, Jan. 6, 2010

'Top Gear': Ten Years, Mostly Accident Free
'Top Gear': Ten Years, Mostly Accident Free
Three idiots drive fast cars, proving the genius of the BBC

Richard Whittaker, June 11, 2009

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017


DVDs, John Prine, Live on Soundstage 1980, Bruised Orange, Pink Cadillac

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle