On November 15TH The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will shine a spotlight on another legend when they showcase the extraordinarily influential career of John Prine.
The exhibit opens November 15th and will follow “the Grammy-winning singer’s life from his early musical influences to his critically acclaimed career as a folk and country singer-songwriter with a knack for social commentary, free from judgment but full of poignancy, heartbreak and humor.”
More from the CMHOF press release:
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will unveil a special spotlight exhibit dedicated to revered singer-songwriter John Prine on November 15. John Prine: It Took Me Years to Get These Souvenirs, which will be located within the museum’s permanent exhibit on the second floor, will incorporate instruments, manuscripts and other relics spanning Prine’s four-decade career. The exhibition will run through May 2014.
John Prine: It Took Me Years to Get These Souvenirs traces the singer’s life from his early musical influences to his critically acclaimed career as a folk and country singer-songwriter with a knack for social commentary, free from judgment but full of poignancy, heartbreak and humor.
John Prine was born October 10, 1946, in Maywood, Illinois-a suburb of Chicago. His parents gave him his first guitar for his 14th birthday. Both his family’s love of country music and its roots in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, would greatly inform Prine’s songwriting style and content.
After high school, Prine served a two-year stint in the U.S. Army before taking a job as a postal worker in Chicago, where he wrote songs while walking his route. He tried out those songs on the Chicago folk circuit. In 1971, Kris Kristofferson heard Prine perform and helped him secure a record deal.
Prine’s self-titled debut album included the songs “Hello in There,” “Paradise” and “Angel from Montgomery,” later recorded by Bette Midler, the Everly Brothers and Bonnie Raitt, respectively. The album also included one of Prine’s most famous songs, “Sam Stone,” a raw look at a drug-addicted Vietnam veteran that critic Roger Ebert called “one of the great songs of the century.”
Prine released a string of other critically acclaimed albums in the 1970s, including Diamonds in the Rough, Sweet Revenge, Common Sense and Bruised Orange. “Souvenirs,” “Christmas in Prison,” “Dear Abby” and “If You Don’t Want My Love” are among his songs from that period.
Prine moved to Nashville in the early 1980s and founded the independent record label Oh Boy Records with his longtime manager, Al Bunetta. In 1991, The Missing Years earned Prine his first Grammy, for Best Contemporary Folk Album. He won another Grammy in 2005 with Fair & Square. In 2007 he released Standard Songs for Average People, an album of duets with Mac Wiseman.
Among the artifacts on display in John Prine: It Took Me Years to Get These Souvenirs are:
- Prine’s first guitar, a 1960 Silvertone Kentucky Blue archtop
- Handwritten manuscript for “Sam Stone,” under its original title, “The Great Society Conflict Veteran Blues”
- Original, handwritten manuscript for “Angel from Montgomery”
- John Prine concert posters from the early 1970s
- Handwritten manuscript for “Dear Abby,” written on stationery from a hotel in Rome, Italy
- Customized guitar with mother-of-pearl and abalone inlays on the body, fretboard, and headstock
- Typed and handwritten three-page manuscript for “Jesus: the Missing Years,” Prine’s tongue-in-cheek, fictitious account of the life of Jesus between the ages of twelve and thirty
- 1991 Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album for The Missing Years
- 2005 Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album for Fair & Square
- Prine’s doodles of winged dogs and other figures, some of which were incorporated into cartoonist John Callahan’s cover art for Prine’s 1995 album, Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings
- Street sign for John Prine Avenue, which runs through Drakesboro, Kentucky, five miles from the Muhlenberg County town of Paradise, where his parents were raised
- Country Weekly award for Favorite Line Dance Song, given to John Prine for co-writing (with Roger Cook) “I Just Want to Dance with You,” a #1 hit for George Strait in 1998
- Personalized tour books with travel itineraries for tours in 1996, 2003, 2005 and 2011