John Prine TEXAS Concert Reviews
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By: Jim Beal Jr. - San Antonio Express-News
http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/music/stories/MYSA16.06P.WK_johnprine0416.2d1e5548.html Prine will lay down the lyrics
Web Posted: 04/15/2004 12:00 AM CDT
Whether John Prine delivered the mail well is something only the people on his route could address. But that was a long time ago in Illinois.
But whether Prine has delivered as a singer, songwriter, entertainer and co-owner of a record label is something to which a legion of fans and peers can attest. And the answer is "yes." Prine, born and raised in Illinois and based in Nashville, Tenn., has carved out a singing/songwriter career that has earned him a following among rank-and-file fans and songwriters.
Saturday, Prine will be in concert at the Majestic Theater. Mary Gauthier (pronounced Go-Shay), another performing songwriter who has drawn raves from careful listeners and other writers, will open at 8 p.m.
After a hitch in the Army, Prine started showcasing his tunes at open-mike nights. His work impressed Steve Goodman and then Kris Kristofferson. Songs such as "Sam Stone," "Hello in There," "Paradise," "Angel From Montgomery" and "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore" quickly proved that Prine has keen eyes, ears and pen. Those talents, coupled with a common-sense, populist bent, enabled Prine to craft songs that spoke to a variety of people.
Prine is adept at tackling serious subjects such as drug addiction, mental illness and lost love in a serious manner. He's equally adept at serving up lighthearted and hilarious looks at pot smoking ("Illegal Smile"), animals used for testing ("Space Monkey," written with Peter Case) and the entire human condition ("It's a Big Old Goofy World.")
At various times since the early '70s, Prine also has puzzled record labels, something that's not difficult, by fusing folk, rock 'n' roll and country. Early albums such as "John Prine," "Diamonds in the Rough," "Sweet Revenge" and "Bruised Orange" generated almost universal critical acclaim, which didn't translate into stardom.
But Prine built a considerable following. His songs, including some he co-wrote, have been covered by such people as Bonnie Raitt ("Angel From Montgomery"), Jim & Jesse ("Paradise"), George Strait ("I Just Want to Dance With You"), Johnny Cash ("Unwed Fathers"), Joan Baez ("Hello in There") and Swamp Dogg ("Sam Stone"). And that's just scratching the surface.
Prine has never rested on songwriting laurels. In the '80s, he moved to Nashville and, with his longtime manager Al Bunetta and Bunetta's associate Dan Einstein, started Oh Boy, a fearless independent label that is the home to like-minded performers such as Dan Reeder, Todd Snider, Kristofferson and Janis Ian.
On Oh Boy, Prine has released a string of cool discs (including the latest, "Souvenirs"), reworked classics and the label's first DVD project, "John Prine Live From Sessions at West 54th."
Prine also has battled back from cancer and hip-replacement surgery to keep a steady presence on the road. For the Majestic concert, he will be accompanied by bassist David Jacques and guitarist/mandolinist Jason Wilber. During past stops in the area, Prine has dug deep into his song bag to come up with material that includes his standards as well as some more obscure tunes. And don't worry, Prine still does "Illegal Smile."
Gauthier is an excellent choice as an opener. From Nashville by way of Louisiana and the Boston area, Gauthier is a unique wordsmith who writes about life from a position of strength.
She has been a juvenile delinquent and an acclaimed chef. Now Gauthier is a stand-and-deliver folk/rocker whose songs about homeless people with dignity ("Christmas in Paradise"), the condemned ("Karla Faye") and the desperate ("Camelot Motel") open ears and serve notice the woman is no "moon, June, spoon" rhymer.
Like Prine, Gauthier has fans among other songwriters. Gurf Morlix produced her third and latest CD, "Filth & Fire," and worked on her fourth album, scheduled for release this year. Gauthier sang on Ray Wylie Hubbard's latest, "Growl," and is name-checked on "Name Droppin'," a tune on "Growl."
For those who pay attention to lyrics, the Prine/Gauthier pairing is about as good as it gets. --
Jim Beal Jr. - San Antonio Express-News
San Antonio Express-News --- http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/music/stories/MYSA20.04P.prine_0420.472297a2.html Concert Review: Prine delivers favorites, new material in marathon concert
It had to happen. Still, it took eight songs, and 40 minutes, before a guy in the audience could stand it no longer and had to scream, "Illegal Smile!"
But John Prine, a singer, songwriter and entertainer for three decades, handled the request well. He ignored it and didn't ridicule the shouter.
Prine, working solo and with bassist David Jacques and multi-instrumentalist Jason Wilber, turned in a marathon show - 27 songs, 140 minutes - Saturday night at the Majestic Theater. --- The crowd of about 1,104, a large handful of whom hooted, squirmed, chatted and generally acted as if they don't get out much, was treated to a liberal helping of Prine standards plus new material from a CD in progress.
Prine opened with anthemic numbers from his debut album, "Spanish Pipedream" and the recently resurrected "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore." From there Prine was all over the repertoire map with the likes of "Souvenirs," "Fish and Whistle," "Lake Marie," "The Sins of Memphisto," "The Bottomless Lake" and "Donald and Lydia." --- Prine talked about his days delivering mail, ex-wives and words he never expected to use in a song. Enchilada is one.
With a large body of songs built on a mixture of the bringing to bear of common sense and a quirky worldview, Prine is a troubadour whose songs don't sound dated no matter their age.
It's been several years since Prine released an album of new material, so the new songs were welcome. To their credit, even the "Illegal Smile" and "Paradise" screamers listened carefully as the man did "I'm Just Getting' By," a melancholy selection, and "Crazy as a Loon," a stereotypical Prine humor-meets-pathos tale of "a guy who's had a little too much of the American dream."
Also to the crowd's credit, people, at least those who had found their seats by downbeat, paid attention to opener Mary Gauthier. The well-traveled Gauthier paints gritty, moving, compelling lyrical pictures drawn from her life.
Songs such as "I Drink," about generational alcoholism, and "Christmas in Paradise," about homeless people celebrating the season despite living under a bridge, take grim subjects and make them human. And "Drag Queens in Limousines" is a lesson in making friends against all odds.
Oh, yeah, Prine's encore included "Illegal Smile" and "Paradise," which featured a giddy Gauthier doing backing vocals while she implored anyone in the audience with a camera to take a picture of her with Prine. That's entertainment.
Al "Blues Man" Cardenas
Been waiting to see John since 1983 and my patience was greatly rewarded. From the opening till the encore "Paradise" one of my personal favorites John kept us mesmerized with his web spinning of tales. Even the 2 new cuts spoke of vintage Prine. I realized that more than just a songwriter/musician John is a master storyteller picking out the subtle nuances in life that we notice and immediately dismiss. The acoustics of the Majestic were superb and was the perfect venue for my first "Evening with John". Mary Gauthier's gritty "no-holds-barred" approach to life was the perfect opening act. Her excitement at singing with John on "paradise" was genuinely felt by those of us there. But then again I had the pleasure of singing with John (and 1000 of my closest friends) the chorus to "Illegal Smile"..so for that brief moment I was onstage too!!
It has been a long time for John Prine to be in Texas. We have waited, and we are proud to have you, especially at such a nice place as Bass Hall. The people that were introduced to you, for the first time) on this occasion will want you back soon. There is a Radio Station that plays John Prine Music. You can find them @ WWW.KHYI.com. They were on top of the announcements of the show, even though, they were not part of the sponsorship. Handshakes to them. My personal love for John Prine (music) is a step above Mel Gibson's' passion. John played about 5 new songs that I had not heard before, but will be part of my collection, when that new CD comes out. I also have lost friends, due to this "big ole goofy world", that had been alive, the last time John Prine played in Texas. John brought back memories of those friends. The new people that felt you on this day at Bass Hall can not replace those friends, but can only confirm that John Prine (music) is a feeling "... Out Sailing on the Ocean".
Random thoughts from a fan...felt good, felt real, felt real good. One of the few concerts I've come away, not wanting another encore, only because I felt he had given all he could or should. I pushed away from the table completely satisfied. Got the feeling the concert would have been the same if there was a full house or a few, he just can't help himself, he's that dadgum good!! Not a sexual healing, but spiritual healing, (didn't need my sex healed (or is it "heeled"?)).
http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/entertainment/8466100.htm?ERIGHTS=-7477787192786818363dfw::KRD_RM=0iljkkmohjmgggggggghhjogig|R|N -- As much as we've stuck by John Prine, he's stuck by us.
-- A former postman who was briefly dubbed yet another "new Dylan" back in the early 1970s, Prine long ago made a deal with his core audience: We would support him while the masses looked away, and he would continue to offer up songs worthy of his status as one of America's best songwriters.
-- The deal, as evidenced by his show at Bass Hall on Sunday, continues to work well for all concerned: backed by a stand-up bassist and guitarist, Prine, 57, gave a generous show that touched on just about all the favorites any longtime follower could hope for
-- among them Souvenirs and the opening Blow Up Your TV
-- while previewing several songs from a compact disc that he said he's three-quarters done recording.
-- True, after years of cigarettes (and, in the '90s, cancer surgery) his voice is not always as rich as in the past. Still, it was often a capably expressive instrument as he worked through Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Any More (which, he said to big laughs, the president had asked him to sing), I Guess I Wish You All the Best and a majestic Angel From Montgomery.
-- Among the two new songs were the quickly strummed, wry The Glory of True Love and a poignantly right-for-the-times tale called (I think this is the title; he didn't say) I'm Just Gettin' By. Taken together, the two point to Prine's continuing mastery of his craft.
The 2004 Show in Ft. Worth: When Mary Gauthier walked on stage-and strummed her guitar- I thought John must have had a "missing daughter" that he recently discovered...and now she was opening for him on tour ! Her Prine-esque style and lyrics make her a perfect opening act for all the JP-lovers in the audience. Several years ago- when he was touring with the Brothers Figaro, I said - it doesn't get any better than this collaboration. I was wrong. Maybe it's the gorgeous venue, maybe it's the presence of his relatives in the audience, maybe it's the "match made in heaven" collaboration with Jason and Dave....whatever it is...the April 18th show was absolutely- positively- the BEST JP show I've been to in my 30 years of attending JP shows. His voice was PRIME Prine; his interaction with the audience was folksy and friendly; and the new songs proved that his incredible knack for songwriting is as strong as ever. I am eagerly awaiting the release of the next recording.
By: Greg Tanner
I last saw John Prine in New Orleans in 1999 and I recall conceding at the time the performance could never be topped. I was wrong. On April 18th, in Fort Worth, John, Jason, and Dave put on what is my new favorite show. Never mind the spectacular venue which is Bass Hall. JP and the band demonstrated to a capacity crowd that they are still the very best at what they do. They managed to effortlessly turn two hours into ten minutes. From the standard opener, "Spanish Pipedream," all the way through "Paradise," the standard closer, the band thrilled with their polished picking and golden voices. I especially enjoyed "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness," which he performed early in the show, and which was tragically missing from his show in 1999. Another of the many highlights was John's telling of a "Happy Enchilada" story, one that none of my friends had heard before. I was in stitches. In fact, I'm still laughing about it. Similar to the show in 1999, he saved "Lake Marie" and the Carter Family's "Bear Creek" for the end. The renditions were perfect, though history taught me the show was almost over. I winced and thought out loud, "No, not Lake Marie....Not yet." The Fort Worth show contained none of the JP (now famous) "In Spite of Ourselves" duets, probably because neither Iris DeMent nor Fiona were available. Mary Gauthier opened the show and did a terrific job with only her acoustic guitar, later joining the band on stage to sing a "Paradise" verse. I really anticipated seeing more of her during the show. Maybe next time. She claimed to be a big fan of John Prine's - and I believe her. John could do a lot worse than bring Mary with him on tour. Finally, I would just like to encourage the world to see John Prine. Likely anyone reading this already has seen him, so.. tell a friend.
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