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NPR Music Listening Party: John Prine

on September 23, 2021 No comments

Ann Powers

NPR turns 50 this year, and we’re marking it by looking back on some other things that happened in 1971. It was that year that songwriter John Prine released his debut album. Prine died in 2020.

For its 50th anniversary, join us in an online listening party for John Prine‘s self-titled debut. NPR Music’s Ann Powers will be joined by John’s wife Fiona Prine, their son Jody Whelan, legendary singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt and producer Jim Rooney in a live conversation about this monumental album.

The event has taken place on the anniversary of the album’s release, Sept. 23, at 2 p.m. ET.

The story of John Prine’s debut album is like something out of a movie: a postal service worker makes his way up the Chicago folk scene, gets noticed by Kris Kristofferson after John had finished his set. John got up on stage, played another set just for Kris and a few other people, and Kris Kristofferson was blown away. And that led to a record deal and Prine’s magnificent recording debut.

“Good songwriters are on the rise, but John Prine is differently good,” went the original Rolling Stone review. These were not just story-songs, but deceptively simple excavations of character. The likes of Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt and the Everly Brothers covered “Sam Stone,” “Paradise” and “Angel from Montgomery,” but moreover revered Prine’s quiet sense of timing, humor and empathy.

“John Prine captured people in those moments of supposing when life gets really small and almost impossible, but then another thought occurs,” Ann Powers wrote in her 2020 remembrance. “A laugh, or a dignified response, or even a sense of blessing.”

POWERS: I think the thing about John Prine – and you can totally hear it throughout this record – is that he has so much humor, and he hooks you in with that and also with his storytelling skills. And then he just gently reaches in and pulls out your heart.

John Prine’s debut album basically made him a legend among singer-songwriters. And one of the people listening was Bonnie Raitt. And she soon recorded “Angel From Montgomery,” and it became a hit.

BONNIE RAITT: It’s a timeless masterpiece. For John to have captured that other generation’s despair, the hopelessness of – how the hell can a person go to work in the morning and come home and have nothing to say? – you know, it’s the reason I didn’t want to get married.

POWERS: And that’s the crazy thing about John Prine’s 1971 debut. It is just one classic after another, not just “Angel From Montgomery,” but “Sam Stone,” “Hello In There,” “Paradise.” And today, 50 years later, it’s – remains a beloved classic that continues to inspire and influence so many of us.

So please join us in the chat to ask questions, or just to shout out your love and thoughts. Let’s listen together!


The last recorded song by John Prine. Written by Prine and his longtime collaborator Pat McLaughlin.

Source: © Copyright NPR and Grateful Web

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Bonnie Raitt on Angel From Montgomery while on Debatable

on April 14, 2020 No comments
VOLUME’s Debatable

Bonnie Raitt shares her reaction to hearing John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” for the first time and how she instantly knew she would perform it.

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

For as long as music has been shared, it has also been debated. Alan Light, veteran music writer and co-host of VOLUME’s new program, Debatable, certainly thinks so.

“I don’t think you can put two music fans in a room and come up with a universally agreed upon anything,” he says, gesturing toward Mark Goodman, his Debatable co-host and fellow music industry vet, who nodded in agreement.

They are standing in a radio studio turned photo studio, about one month out from the launch of SiriusXM’s latest channel, VOLUME, the first-ever talk radio station dedicated to music.

Alan Light and Mark Goodman hosts of Debatable

Light is relaxed in front of the camera, rhythmically shifting his weight from left to right as if to music. Considering his accomplishments in the music industry – writer for Rolling Stone, founding music editor and editor-in-chief of Vibe Magazine, editor-in-chief of Spin Magazine, contributor to the New Yorker, author of an oral history of the Beastie Boys and a biography of Prince – it’s no surprise that he might have a tune or two in the back of his mind.

Goodman, who had been finishing up his other duties for the day at SiriusXM as a longtime host on channels like 80s on 8, Classic Rewind and The Spectrum, confidently makes his way next to Light onto the set. He, too, grew up in the music industry, serving as one of the first MTV VJs, then a VH-1 host and media personality. Despite his own accomplishments, he clearly reveres Light’s position as a journalist in the industry.

“I want to learn a lot from this guy, who knows so much about music,” Goodman said, pointing to Light. “I’ve read his books, I’ve been reading his articles for years. He’s a fascinating guy.

“But,” he continues, “I don’t always agree with everything he says.”

Disagreement isn’t necessarily a bad thing for these two. In fact, it might be ideal as they’re set to launch a new show that’s all about debating the musical merits of songs, albums and bands.

Don’t worry, it won’t be two talking heads going it at it for three hours every day (although the Talking Heads are certainly fair game). The two will be joined by celebrity guests along with listeners, who will also have a chance to weigh in.

Goodman puts it succinctly: “This show is going to be me and Alan Light and artists and influencers and fans talking about probably the most important thing in my life: music.”

Yes, that means music of all genres. Anything is up for debate on Debatable.

“The music industry is in a state of flux and it affects all of us. There’s a lot to talk about,” Goodman explains. “The way people are getting music these days is completely different than it was even five years ago and continues to evolve.”

Despite their often different takes on music and the people who make it, Light and Goodman see their show as promoting a common goal, not just an opportunity to rant and rave about the industry.

“Any kind of criticism done right is about advancing a conversation,” Light says. “It’s about helping people find another way to think about somebody’s work, whether that’s [through] the artist himself or the audience listening. They can agree or disagree in the end with whether they like it or not. Our job should be to elevate the conversation.”

Debatable airs on VOUME (Ch. 106) weekdays from 4 pm to 7 pm ET.

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Source: © Copyright SiriusXM Volume’s Debatable

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Watch Bonnie Raitt, John Prine Sing ‘Angel From Montgomery’ on ‘Austin City Limits’

on November 21, 2019 No comments

Special episode of live music series was filmed in Nashville at the Americana Honors and Awards

By Stephen L. Betts

Austin City Limits presents an all-star Americana special this weekend, with more than a dozen performances and other highlights from this year’s Americana Honors & Awards ceremony.

Premiering Saturday on PBS, the hour-long episode was taped at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium in September and includes a performance by Album of the Year winner John Prine, who sings his “Angel From Montgomery” with the artist who brought the song wider recognition, Bonnie Raitt.

“I’ve been singing it since 1973 or so, when I first started to tour with John,” Bonnie Raitt says of the tender “Angel From Montgomery.” Their performance, with Raitt on lead vocal and Prine providing harmony for the first verse switches their roles in verse two, as Prine sings, “When I was a young girl, I had me a cowboy, he weren’t much to look at, just a free-ramblin’ man.” As the verse ends, Raitt adds honeyed harmony to Prine’s aged-to-perfection lead vocal, proving yet again that the song was in equally great hands for both artists in their respective solo versions. In this joint rendition, it becomes something truly special.


Additionally, Americana Artist of the Year Brandi Carlile, Mavis Staples, and Elvis Costello all perform on the episode, with the latter taking the stage alongside Jim Lauderdale for a two-song set comprised of “Red Cotton” and “Blame It on Cain.” Rhiannon Giddens, who was presented with the inaugural Legacy of Americana honor, performs the stirring traditional “Wayfaring Stranger” with Francesco Turrisi, and newly minted Grammy nominees Yola and I’m With Her (Sarah Jarosz, Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan) perform “Faraway Look” and “Call My Name,” respectively.

Also appearing throughout the episode are the Milk Carton Kids, Joe Henry and Rodney Crowell, Mumford & Sons, Our Native Daughters, the War & Treaty, and Mark Erelli with guests Josh Ritter, Lori McKenna, J.S. Ondara, and Shawn Colvin.

The 18th annual Americana Honors and Awards were the centerpiece of the Americana Music Association’s annual AmericanaFest, a live-music and business conference event gathering fans and industry professionals from around the globe. Austin City Limits, now in its 45th season, is the longest-running live music series in television history.

ACL Presents Americana 18th Annual Honors airs Saturday, November 23rd, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS. The episode will be available to stream the following day at 10 a.m. ET.

Source: © Copyright Rolling Stone More info: Americana Music Association But wait, there's more!