John Prine died two months + one day ago. I never met John Prine. But his death hit me hard. I'm not sure that a "celebrity" death had as much impact on me as John Prine's. I had seen John in concert ~ 25 times, first in 1974 at Summerfest in Milwaukee, and most recently in 2018 here at the Mirriam Theater in Philadelphia. He was spectacular each and every time. John Prine never phoned it in. John Prine, simply, is my music hero,. He has inspired me to become a songwriter, and I tend to write somewhat based on John Prine's general format. Although, to be clear, I don't expect to ever be able to write a song as good as a "John Prine song."
As a tribute to John Prine - - and to educate ourselves about John Prine and all of his music - - a group of us started a "John Prine Album Club." Each week, we listen to one of John Prine's albums, front to back, and then we meet via a Zoom meeting to discuss the album (its songs, producer, musicians, etc.) in detail. And a few of us each sing a song from the album. (Zoom is not the easiest format to do a live musical "performance," but we manage.) "Storm Windows" is this week's album.
For a guy who has bought all of John Prine's music on LPs, CDs and digitally (and some albums / songs on more than one format), I'm amazed at how much I'm learning about John Prine and his music in our JP Album Club sessions. Part of my education is coming from the research that I've been doing to more or less lead the group discussions, but part of my education is coming simply from re-listening to each song on each album over and over again during that album's week.
Among the songs that I didn't fully appreciate is "Crooked Piece of Time," which was on John Prine's "Bruised Orange" album from 1975. It was a great album, which included a number of my favorite John Prine songs, like "That's the Way the World Goes Round," "Fish and Whistle," and "Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone," among others. But listening to "Crooked Piece of Time" a number of times a few weeks ago during "Bruised Orange" week, I came to appreciate just how good the song is. And, of course, with everything that's happening in the world right now, it seems like a particularly meaningful song.