My appreciation for John Prine bloomed late but furiously. After my tough winter in 2011, I stayed with my parents at their house in Arkansas for a while to regroup. When it was time to head back North, my dad and I took the long way home, following Highway 61 like a couple of less cool Dylans. The route meandered, our thoughts meandered, and of course, of course, our music meandered.
Dad popped in a cassette tape—dads are the purest, most heartful hipsters—and we listened to the scratchy, scruffy stories of a man who could have been from Appalachia, from Nebraska, from Salinas, from home; it didn’t matter. I think the track Dad was most excite for me to hear was the lighthearted Dear Abby and the heavy Sam Stone, both of which I’ve carried with me ever since. That’s how John Prine’s song work—like crumpled dollars you find in your pocket when you think you’ve spent your last dime. Continue reading
There is a question I have feared to answer: if I had been alive at the time, would I have gone to Woodstock? It’s easy to give the answer you would like to be true for these sorts of things, isn’t it? It’s easy to be like “duh, I would be there before you could say ‘Jefferson Airplane and I both want somebody to love, we both need somebody to love, we would both love somebody to love’.” It’s easy, yes, but is it true? I didn’t know. Here is what I did know: I knew that I love taking showers. I knew that I love drinking my coffee in the morning. I knew that I feel sometimes an irrepressible need to follow rules. I knew I am not in love with the idea of looking at the poop of strangers whenever I enter a portable bathroom. I knew that I run out of social power and require long sips of solitude to get some life back into me. I knew that my sense of direction is the worst in the history of humankind and that I get easily lost while driving which may have prevented me from ever finding the field. I knew that if I don’t eat at regular intervals, I become a cross between the Incredible Hulk and a teething honey badger with a salty hangnail. Continue reading