Atlanta, Georgia (November 17, 2017) – John Prine, with special guest, Kacey Musgraves, brought us all home when he performed at Atlanta, GA‘s Fox Theater. As is the case with many a country artist, his music is clearly inspired by real life. He scooped us all up in his deep voice and took us for a walk through his world. It was easy to get lost, swaying along to the lyrical musings that flow so easily from this country legend. The Fox Theater is arguably the best place to see any kind of musical event in Atlanta, there was not a bad seat in the house and the acoustics were to die for. This theater was built in 1929 and in the years since has hosted everything from Broadway musicals to indie rock bands. This old-world theater processes a singular beauty that is seen in every ornate detail, from the delicate stonework to the skyscape ceiling. It gives one the sense of being at an outdoor venue beneath a perfect sky while also giving a feel of luxury and comfort. That feeling combined with the down-home music made the whole event a truly magical experience.
John Prine didn’t start out a star, in fact, he learned how to play guitar at the age of 14, music and songwriting was just a hobby, even into his 20’s. However, after joining the folk revival in Chicago his was discovered by Kris Kristofferson, this would result in his first self-titled album in 1971 which he received critical acclaim for. After this Mr. Prine would go on to release over six more albums and form his own record company Oh Boy Records before being faced with a battle against squamous cell cancer. After winning that battle John would find himself with a deepened voice that had a gravelly quality. Using this to his advantage he would go on to release the award-winning album Fair & Square in 2005. Mr. Prine has been cited numerous times as one of the most influential songwriters of his generation and is much a loved artist by those who love old-school country.
Kacey Musgraves still early in her career is well on her way to being just as beloved as the masterful Mr. Prine whom she opened for with her own song “Stupid”. This was the perfect choice to get the crowd “shaking like a rattle”. Despite the great success she has found in her career she is still very down to earth saying “This place is really classy. I’m actually not sure how they let me in,”. She truly set fire to the crowd with her bright, melodious voice singing such covers including Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart”. Her set was the perfect accompaniment to John Prine’s performance and her last request before handing the reins over was for the crowd to “get a little weird” during this, their last set of the calendar year.
Mr. Prine came on with just his band and a guitar – no frills. He is an artist and had no need for fancy backdrops; he would work his magic all the same. He played such hits as “Long Monday”, “Taking a Walk”, and “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You into Heaven Anymore”. His songs were funny, serious, real, and relatable. You spent your time flitting between tears of joy and tears of sadness and you delighted in every moment. There was a wonderful allure to the simplicity of his music that was refreshing, his was the cool drink of water next to Kasey’s fire. It took one back to the rawness that gave old country its charm before the influence of pop that pervades the country charts today.
What would be a better ending to the night then that fire-water combination together? Mr. Prine had Kasey Join him back on the stage for a couple of songs including his mega-hit “In Spite of Ourselves”. The deep, rich, rocky voice of Mr. Prine mixed with the sweet brilliance of Ms. Musgraves made for a lovely duet that had us all laughing. The show was like a coming home for those of us who grew up with old-school country.
If you ever have the chance to see one of John’s shows you would be amiss to pass it up. He will liven your spirit with his mastery of lyrical prose. The next tour begins along with the release of his new album, Beyond Words, in the spring of 2018, which you can pre-order. Be sure to check out his tour schedule to see when he is coming to a town near you.