This past Saturday night, I got to see one of my favorite artists live in concert, and left feeling incredibly inspired. Industry-renowned, Grammy-winning country and folk singer/songwriter John Prine stood on that stage, at seventy-two years old, and gave a performance that was even better than I could have imagined. The show took place in one of those beautiful, old theaters with velvet seats and painted ceilings. We were up in the balcony, and though we were quite far away, we were still straight back from the stage and had a nice view.
John was opened up for by Dan Auerbach, of The Black Keys, who was totally fantastic. I’d never listened to any of The Black Keys’ stuff, let alone Auerbach’s solo releases, but I really enjoyed his performance, especially “Waiting on a Song” and “Livin’ in Sin” from his most recent record. He played for about forty-five minutes, and his set definitely made me a fan!
Finally, John took the stage, and it felt truly exhilarating just to be in the same room as him! To my surprise, his voice was quite strong and clear, and the show was filled with much more energy than I had expected. I didn’t know every song he played, but I still enjoyed every moment of his performance. There were probably nine different guitars on stage, plus an upright bass, a small drum set, and a mandolin. His lead guitarist also played harmonica on a couple of numbers, which was really beautiful. He did play some of my favorite tracks, including “Angel From Montgomery”, “That’s The Way The World Goes ‘Round” with Dan Auerbach, “Sam Stone”, and “Hello In There”. I didn’t know the song they closed with, but John ended it by literally laying his guitar down in the middle of the floor and dancing off of stage – it was hilarious. Then, after much applause and a standing ovation, of course he came back out for an encore, in which he sang his huge song, “Paradise” with his wife! I thought that was so sweet – check out the videos I took below!
Sitting there, watching a songwriter I admire so much play his music for a crowd that’s cheering his name, yelling out song requests, and singing his lyrics reminds me just how much I want to do with my life what John Prine has done with his. I strive to create music that is authentic to who I am, to write lyrics with transparent honesty, and to tell the stories that need to be told. That’s what John Prine has done through his entire career – happy or sad, humorous or melancholy, every song has a story, and each story has a take-away. Kacey Musgraves and Margo Price, two of my favorite modern artists, do the same thing with their songwriting, and both have credited Prine with being a major influence. That’s what’s really inspiring – to watch a line of artists, from old to young, become influenced and encouraged by one another, all appreciating the same type of songwriting, and continuing to carry it down through their own music. That is what is keeping the spirit of genuine, classic country/folk music alive, and I can only hope to one day be the next artist in that line.
To commemorate this wonderful experience, I bought myself this super cool enamel pin. Obviously, it’s a reference to Bruised Orange, Prine’s 1978 album. I’m so excited to pin it on a jean jacket!
All in all, this was an amazing show. Big or small, I always love going to concerts and shows, so these moments in which I’m lucky enough to experience a musical inspiration of mine playing live are truly special. A huge thank you to my dad for taking me!
Though my concert itch is temporarily scratched, Jason Isbell is coming to this same theater in early 2018, and I’d love to get tickets. If y’all could see anyone in concert, who would it be? Let me know in the comments below!
Also, I made a Best of John Prine playlist on Spotfiy, if y’all want to go check that out. I’ll add more songs as I discover them. Happy Music Monday y’all, and happy listening! Much love.