Long considered a “songwriter’s songwriter,” John Prine is a rare talent whose writing is greatly admired by his peers. Performers who have recorded from his extensive catalog, include Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, the Everly Brothers, John Denver, Kris Kristofferson, Carly Simon, Ben Harper, Joan Baez, George Strait, Old Crow Medicine Show, Norah Jones, Bette Midler, Miranda Lambert and many others. “He’s so good, we’re gonna have to break his fingers,” Kris Kristofferson said after witnessing a Prine performance. Bob Dylan remarked, “Beautiful songs… Nobody but Prine could write like that.” But long before the awards and accolades, the concerts and many albums, John Prine trudged through snow in the cold Chicago winters, delivering mail across Maywood, his childhood suburb. “I always likened the mail route to a library with no books,” says John Prine. “I passed the time each day making up these little ditties.”
John’s parents, William Prine and Verna Ham Prine migrated from Paradise, Kentucky in 1934, joining the many others chasing work in the industrial north. They settled in a west Chicago suburb, and raised four boys. John and his brothers – David, Doug, and Billy – grew up in a close, loving extended family where country music, the Grand ‘Ol Opry, good Southern cooking, and annual visits ‘home’ to Kentucky were as naturally part of their lives as Chicago hot dogs and baseball! With his career spanning more than 40 years Prine continues to perform at sold out shows all over the US, Canada, and Europe.
Among the many awards and accolades John has received in recent times include is his 2003 induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, an Americana Lifetime Achievement Award for songwriting and was honoured at the Library of Congress by US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser. Prine has become for many, not just a well loved and appreciated songwriter, but a bonafide American treasure.
John lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Fiona, and enjoys spending time with their three sons, daughter-in-law, and grandson.