Out to dinner this evening, I was surprised and pleased to encounter a salt-cured Kentucky ham on offer. I leapt at the nearly forgotten taste. On arriving home I was pleased to note that American Routes is devoting this weeks’ number to the Kentucky-and-Chicago bred songwriter John Prine, whom I think of as an Austin-school player.
I first came to appreciate the man’s work while working at the Runcible Spoon, around 1986. A tape of vaguely irritating country-styled nineteen-seventies singer-songwriter folk morphed under constant listening into a shimmering masterwork of mordant wit. The handwritten name on the tape was ‘John Prine.‘
The song that really caught my ear, I learned years later, is called “Sam Stone,” and appeared on the first record that the singer released.