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John Prine : In Spite of Himself
by Eddie Huffman


Overview - With a range that spans the lyrical, heartfelt songs Angel from Montgomery, Sam Stone, and Paradise to the classic country music parody You Never Even Called Me by My Name, John Prine is a songwriter s songwriter. Across five decades, Prine has created critically acclaimed albums John Prine (one of Rolling Stone s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time), Bruised Orange, and The Missing Years and earned many honors, including two Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting from the Americana Music Association, and induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.  Read more...

 
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More About John Prine by Eddie Huffman
 
 
 
Overview
With a range that spans the lyrical, heartfelt songs Angel from Montgomery, Sam Stone, and Paradise to the classic country music parody You Never Even Called Me by My Name, John Prine is a songwriter s songwriter. Across five decades, Prine has created critically acclaimed albums John Prine (one of Rolling Stone s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time), Bruised Orange, and The Missing Years and earned many honors, including two Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting from the Americana Music Association, and induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. His songs have been covered by scores of artists, from Johnny Cash and Miranda Lambert to Bette Midler and 10,000 Maniacs, and have influenced everyone from Roger McGuinn to Kacey Musgraves. Hailed in his early years as the new Dylan, Prine still counts Bob Dylan among his most enthusiastic fans. In John Prine, Eddie Huffman traces the long arc of Prine s musical career, beginning with his early, seemingly effortless successes, which led paradoxically not to stardom but to a rich and varied career writing songs that other people have made famous. He recounts the stories, many of them humorous, behind Prine s best-known songs and discusses all of Prine s albums as he explores the brilliant records and the ill-advised side trips, the underappreciated gems and the hard-earned comebacks that led Prine to found his own successful record label, Oh Boy Records. This thorough, entertaining treatment gives John Prine his due as one of the most influential songwriters of his generation."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780292748224
  • ISBN-10: 0292748221
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publish Date: March 2015
  • Page Count: 224

Series: American Music

Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Composers & Musicians - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-02-02
  • Reviewer: Staff

In 1970, the late Roger Ebert wrote of John Prine’s performing style in the Chicago Sun-Times: “He appears on the stage with such modesty that he almost seems to be backing into the spotlight.... He starts slow. But after a song or two, even the drunks in the room begin to listen to his lyrics. And then he has you.” In the same way, music critic Huffman slowly backs into this fan’s notes and heartfelt appreciation of Prine and his music. Weaving well-known biographical details (Prine was a mail carrier in Chicago when he got his start) into meticulous sketches of the making of each album—and reviews of those albums—Huffman offers an admiring portrait of an often restless though always canny songwriter. Reflecting on Prine’s eponymous 1971 debut album, Huffman points out that “everything his fans would come to love about him—drama, humor, memorable characters, great stories, a badass outsider stance offset by a reverence for tradition—could be found, fully developed... the recordings showed ample room for Prine to grow as a musician... but the songs were built to last.” Two years later, on the album Sweet Revenge, Prine “sounded fully integrated with backing musicians, and he once again rose to the challenge of writing a compelling batch of tunes.” In the 1980s, Prine started his own record label, Oh Boy, and in 1991, he released The Missing Years, which Huffman calls Prine’s Born to Run or Damn the Torpedoes, a swaggering rock statement that fully realized his potential.” Huffman’s book will make us want to pick up Prine’s albums and listen to them once again or for the first time. (Mar.)

 
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