John Prine: The Grammys Catch Up to a Genius Songwriter (Again)

In a lot of ways, John Prine has lived a very conventional life, albeit by a set of standards somewhat different from others. His is the classic “blue-collar average Joe gets discovered, kicks around the music industry, recovers from a serious illness, ages comfortably into elder statesman” story, and if Prine hadn’t insisted on bucking convention from the get-go with his wry, occasionally bleakly humorous tunes, he’d probably already have a big-budget biopic. Image zoom AP/REX/Shutterstock But Prine defies easy categorization: Unlike a figure like Blaze Foley (given the prestige biopic last year by Ethan Hawke), Prine doesn’t have a deep bench of stories from his hell-raising years or any outsize quirks (like Foley’s duct-taping habit). He’s just got a catalog of incredible songs, some of which would cause the “proper” country establishment to choke on their grits. (“There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes” comes to mind.) Prine’s biography is pretty standard: Son No. 3 to William and Verna Prine (in 1946), he grew up in Maywood, Illinois, where he acquired the Midwest accent that would further set him apart from his Nashville contemporaries. Twenty years later, he was drafted, but wound up in West… Read full this story

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