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John Prine Finally Gets the Send-Off He Deserved at Nashville’s Week of Tribute Concerts
"You Got Gold" shows delivered a stellar lineup of surprise guests, including Brandi Carlile, Bonnie Raitt, Margo Price, and Kacey Musgraves

on October 12, 2022 No comments
by Charlie Zaillian

TO LIVE IN Nashville is to love John Prine, so it never sat right how quarantine robbed the late singer, songwriter, and hometown hero of a proper in-person memorial when he died of Covid complications in April of 2020. Prine finally got the wake he deserved this week in Nashville with a string of celebratory concerts titled “You Got Gold,” which featured an all-star, cross-generational casts of admirers covering songs and exchanging anecdotes about the man.

On Sunday, performers and presenters remembered Prine’s generous spirit and the way he modeled being a decent human on top of his talents. “This is the type of songwriter you should be — this is the type of man you should be,” John Paul White recalled of his encounters with Prine, before turning in a solo acoustic rendition of “Far From Me.”

Elsewhere, Steve Earle offered a rowdy take on “That’s the Way the World Goes Round,” Lucius captivated with sublime harmonies on “You Got Gold,” Gillian Welch and David Rawlings chilled with “Hello in There,” and the inspired pairing of Valerie June and Nathaniel Rateliff rollicked their way through “In Spite of Ourselves.” Later in the night, R&B cult figure Swamp Dogg gave a sprawling, impassioned take on “Sam Stone” that included a spiel on homeless veterans, further driving home Prine’s original point about the vulnerability of those returning from war.

Kacey Musgraves performs at the John Prine tribute concert Oct. 10 in Nashville. © Emma Delevante

On Monday — what would have been Prine’s 75th birthday — standards like “Angel From Montgomery” off Prine’s eponymous 1971 debut (covered first by Bonnie Raitt on her 1974 LP Streetlights and performed again, with Brandi Carlile, to Monday night’s reverent standing-room audience) spoke to his music’s timelessness, while material from his 2018 sign-off Tree of Forgiveness evidenced its cross generational reach. “I Have Met My Love Today” was rendered as a duet between veteran crooner Chris Isaak and younger counterpart Nicole Atkins, and “Summer’s End” was tackled with aplomb by gifted New Orleanian singer and multi-instrumentalist Leyla McCalla.


One of Prine’s oldest friends and colleagues to perform was Bonnie Raitt, whom he had known since 1971. They both released their debut albums that year and Raitt has been performing “Angel From Montgomery” live ever since, calling it “a cornerstone of emotion for the audience and for me.”

Brandi Carlile and Bonnie Raitt with John’s band performing “Angel From Montgomery” at ‘You Got Gold’ Birthday Celebration for John Prine at The Ryman in Nashville – October 10, 2022 © Reeda Buresh 
'We started out together in the early '70s, Becky (Thatcher) and Tom Sawyer and Steve Goodman (singer-songwriter and longtime Prine collaborator) was Huck Finn,' Bonnie Raitt said before earning an ovation for 'Angel From Montgomery' with Carlile on harmonies. 'We tore it up all through the '70s. And we were just about to tear it up in our 70s.'

“For us all to come together in honor of him this week is so healing for us as well as for the Prine family,” Raitt said of the concerts. “It’s really the wake and the celebration we didn’t get to have yet.”


The amount of talent and heart gathered Monday at the Mother Church was, honestly, staggering. Upstarts included the charismatic Nashville staple Margo Price, red-hot Bluegrass Stater Tyler Childers, and pop-country maven Kacey Musgraves — an avowed super-fan who, early in her career, titled a song “Burn One With John Prine” and eventually got to perform said tune with its namesake — plus, from the West Coast, Milk Carton Kids, a duo whose harmonies on their rendition of Prine’s 1980 track “Storm Windows” induced goosebumps.

Allison Russell and Jeremy Lindsay perform in honor of John Prine at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. © Rett Rogers

Heavier in nature were performances by Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, and others whose relationships with the revered songwriter were more peer-to-peer than teacher-and-understudy.

Yet as gifted as Prine proved himself to be at boiling down universal truths into pithy tunes over his long, fruitful career, it was the between-song anecdotes shared by Sunday and Monday’s performers — firsthand reflections of both his big heart, and subtle-yet-wicked sense of humor — that made his loss feel most pronounced and proved that Prine was a man not only gifted in writing about the human experience, but living it too.

The “You Got Gold” concerts wrap up Wednesday night with one last show at the Basement East in East Nashville.

Additional reporting by Jon Freeman.


Source: © Copyright Rolling Stone
See also: JamBase and Relix and The Tennessean and Live For Live Music

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Bonnie joins Dave Cobb on Southern Accents Radio

on September 17, 2022 No comments

Bonnie joins Dave Cobb on #SouthernAccentsRadio Saturday, 9/17 at 4pm PT / 6pm CT to talk about her latest album, ‘Just Like That…’ and play music from some of her Americana and Blues heroes. Open Apple Music, tap Radio, and hit Apple Music Country to listen live.

tip: most convenient way to listen while browsing along is to use the popup button of the player.

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Part of what sets Nashville apart is the tight-knit creative community at work behind the scenes. Over the last decade and a half, producer and record executive Dave Cobb has become one of the most in-demand and enthusiastic studio gurus in town. He helped Shooter Jennings and Jamey Johnson make landmark albums at the imaginative outlaw fringes, then partnered with Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, and Lori McKenna on category-defying breakthroughs that transformed the country music landscape. On Southern Accents Radio, Cobb draws on his industry expertise, eclectic tastes, and deep connections with artists like Isbell to share riveting stories of how the music gets made.


Source: © Copyright Southern Accents Radio with Dave Cobb – Apple Music Country

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Bonnie Raitt visits Bull Moose record shop on Record Store Day 2022 for a Q&A!

on April 24, 2022 No comments

Press Herald music columnist Aimsel Ponti interviews music legend Bonnie Raitt in front of a live audience at the Scarborough location of Maine record store chain Bull Moose on Saturday, Record Store Day, before Raitt’s sold-out show at Merrill Auditorium that night.

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(Edit: Tried to adjust volume level of Bonnie but that amplified cheering and clapping also which was recorded louder.)

Bonnie had a blast and and as an independent record label, Redwing Records is grateful for the important role indie record stores play in the music scene and in building community she said.
Aimsel Ponti, knocked it outta the park with her stellar preparation and personal touch.

The lucky audience members who sat in on a Q&A with Bonnie Raitt visiting Bull Moose record shop on Record Store Day for a Q&A with Aimsel Ponti – April 23, 2022

Ponti wrote about her admiration for Raitt and her anticipation leading up to the interview in her column, Face the Music.

Face the Music: Here’s something to talk about – Bonnie Raitt’s coming to Bull Moose

Photo by Ken Friedman

Do you believe in miracles? Always a skeptic, I might have to rethink my opinions on them, because I am on the receiving end of a massive one: Maine record store chain Bull Moose asked me to interview Bonnie Raitt in person at its Scarborough location on April 23, and you could join me.

The event coincides with the release of Raitt’s latest album, her sold-out show at Merrill Auditorium and Record Store Day.

Record Store Day, now in its 15th year, is an an annual celebration of independent record stores, and Chris Brown, chief financial officer of Bull Moose Music, was one of its founders. The day is celebrated globally and many artists release special edition vinyl.

About 75 spots are available for fans to attend the Bonnie Raitt interview in person, and you have until Sunday to enter your name into the drawing for passes at bullmoose.com. The winners will be drawn on April 18. But don’t despair if you’re not selected; the entire thing will be livestreamed from the Bull Moose Facebook page.

Raitt is one of my musical heroes, and Bull Moose staff told me that she is thrilled that a woman is conducting the interview.

As a longtime music writer, I’ve had the opportunity to interview a ton of my favorite musicians, and I’m thankful for every conversation, but those are almost always by telephone before the artists come to Maine to perform. This time, however, I’ll be sitting a few feet away from Raitt, and instead of taking notes, I’ll be looking right at her as she answers my questions.

Speaking of questions, if you have any that you’re dying to ask Raitt, please reach out or leave a comment, as I’ll be making a list and checking it at least 87,946 times.

Raitt is set to release her 18th studio album, “Just Like That,” on April 22, the day before the visit to Bull Moose and her show at Merrill.

The first two singles, “Something’s Got a Hold of My Heart” and “Made Up Mind,” are out and stay true to the sound that made her one of the most enduring artists of the last several decades. One part blues, one part rock with contralto vocals and an unyielding commitment to solid lyricism and hooks, Bonnie Raitt sounds like no one else.

And aside from writing never-less-than-excellent songs, she sure knows how to choose others to record. In 2017, I visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville and saw the holy grail of lyrics: John Prine’s handwritten words to “Angel From Montgomery.” Raitt recorded it for her 1974 album “Streetlights,” and the song hasn’t lost any of its magic all these years later. This month marks the two-year anniversary of Prine’s death from COVID-19, and while that loss will always hurt, his music lives on, and Raitt’s take on “Angel” is a gold star in his legacy.

I’m also thinking about Raitt’s version of the early ’60s Del Shannon hit “Runaway” on her 1977 album “Sweet Forgiveness.” Raitt forged the song in her own brand of bluesy steel, and it, too, is pure dynamite.

I’ve been a Raitt fan since the late ’80s, dating back to my college radio days in Keene, New Hampshire. I’ve seen her live about five times and have always been entirely blown away by her shows. Raitt makes it look easy. From her smoking blues guitar to her vocals and tremendous band, these are real-deal rock ‘n’ roll events.

I remember when she released “Nick of Time” in 1989. It won Grammys for album of the year, best female rock vocal performance and best female pop vocal performance. Along with the title track, my favorites on it are the righteous “Love Letter” and the ballad “Cry on My Shoulder.”

Then came “Luck of the Draw” in 1991. Top to bottom, the album holds up. It’s home to quite possibly the saddest song in the world, “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” by songwriters Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin. I don’t know who brought it to Raitt’s attention – oh wait, I can ask her! – but, man alive, hearing Raitt sing it is a spiritual experience, especially live. Her vocals are so powerful and sincere that I’m not sure if the tears it brings are from the lyrics’ sadness or the joy of hearing something so divine.

Jumping ahead to 2005, Raitt’s album “Souls Alike” opens with a track I have adopted as a personal theme song. I have run to it, cried to it, celebrated to it and sung it at the top of my off-key lungs. “I Will Not Be Broken”  includes the lines: “I will not be someone other than who I am/I will fight to make my stand/Cause what is livin’ if I can’t live free/What is freedom if I can’t be me,” and I can hear conviction and see the smile I imagine she had in the studio the day the track was laid down.

All of this is to say, my admiration and respect for Bonnie Raitt is immense. And I’m not alone. Her show at Merrill Auditorium sold out ages ago, and tickets are burning holes in pockets of fans for miles around.

If you’re selected to attend the event at Bull Moose, you’ll receive a sweet exclusive poster commemorating Raitt’s visit and also could win a signed poster or tickets to the show at Merrill.

But better yet, Bonnie, let’s give them something to talk about.


Source: © Copyright Press Herald and Press Herald

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