As regular readers are aware, the object of the articles in the Chain Gang series is to find something in the one that precedes yours that you can link to and write about. I scoured Andrew Frolish’s article for names to connect to and whilst I do know the music of Billy Bragg and Michael Stipe, I have no idea who Cara Tivey is and I’d never heard of Sam Chase and the fellow musicians in his trio. That left John Prine who of course I know, but I must admit that he and his music have passed me by. Along with the likes of Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Tim Buckley and to some extent Loudon Wainwright III, I just never got into their music in any depth.
Thinking about it, it’s a bit strange as I love the genre I call ‘The American Troubadour’, be they male or female. I spent the past fifty plus years listening to Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Emmylou Harris and many, many others, who whilst being very different to each other, could be categorised as ‘American Troubadours’ but John Prine just wasn’t one of those whose music I’d really invested in. I know how revered he was and his recent death brought out the tributes from fellow musicians who eulogised him as a big influence on their songwriting and playing – even Johnny Cash cited him as someone he very much admired – praise indeed.
My only excuse is that we all only have a limited time on earth and we can only listen to so much music in each lifetime. Having said that, I hope I’ve got a bit more time left before I shuffle off this mortal coil so I can listen to a lot more music and reading Andrew’s article has inspired me to spend some of that precious time listening to the music of John Prine and make up for lost time.