When I was a kid in the 70s I wanted to be a Spanish dancer, blow up the TV, eat peaches and all that. Later I was struck romantic by oodles of light and incredible dreams, cried for James Lewis, cracked my heart over Donald and Lydia and fell in love with a free ramblin’ cowboy. These days I think more about where we’ll all wind up and if what the man says is true, sittin’ on a rainbow sounds pretty good to me.
John Prine is so intimately woven into the fabric of American life, he is for many of us nearly invisible. A continuous, undetectable force like gravity. Unlike the more tangible and space-occupying celebrity of an icon like Bob Dylan, Prine’s music is gentle, plain, easy to access, even comforting. Poetry for everyman, Prine works his way into one’s conscious and unconscious mind and once there, he remains. For months, years, decades. Letting you know he understands. He identifies. He’s been there. Yes, his lyrics are predominantly about his experiences of life in the midwest, but what he depicts is the human experience and that, is something to which we can all relate. In simple, poignant, beautiful language he touches our hearts again and again and for those of us who know his music well, we feel a personal connection to the songs.
We are incredibly lucky to have an artist like Prine among us. He is truly an American treasure.