Angel From Maywood

John Prine, says hello in there.
Angel From Maywood

By Dawn Pomento

If you're a faithful John Prine fan, you bought your tickets when they went on sale two months ago. You've spent the last few weeks revisiting your favorite CDs in preparation - maybe the duets with legends like Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams on In Spite of Ourselves. Or you might have even dug out Prine's 1971 eponymous debut recording because you've had a hankering to hear "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore." (By popular request, Prine is dusting off that classic on this tour, since the Vietnam-era lyrics unfortunately have some meaning again.) Or you might have been listening to The Missing Years, the one that finally won the Grammy for Prine in 1991.

Now the rest of you, the undecided, you may only know John Prine as the man who wrote the song Bonnie Raitt adopted as her own, "Angel From Montgomery." Or you may own one or two of his CDs, but not the entire, impressive collection. For you, this may be the tour to finally see him. Prine was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a cancer that led to the removal of a tumor from his throat and rounds of chemotherapy. Reports are that it hasn't affected Prine's ability to convey the pathos or humor in his songs. So don't even think about any kind of nostalgic farewell.

John Prine
Mary Gauthier

Saturday, April 17
Majestic Theatre
226 E. Houston

Prine is also surprising audiences on this tour with previews from his forthcoming CD. The release date hasn't been set yet, but it will come out on the label Prine started himself two decades ago, Oh Boy Records. After years of toiling for the majors, Prine created a small label for himself and other critically lauded artists who are bypassed by mainstream radio programmers because they can't find an easy way to tag the music. Prine has been labeled folk, country, and rock over the years. The faithful legions don't mind that Prine can't be pigeonholed. They're ready to hear him play old and new songs with the wry empathy they've come to expect.

By Dawn Pomento

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