Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Open Up Them Pearly Gates

Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Open Up Them Pearly Gates

Article excerpt

The Vietnam War was winding down by 1971, when 25-year-old Army vet John Prine quit his day job as a postman in Maywood, Illinois, to release a set of songs that would resonate powerfully among young fans of acoustic folk and country-rock. Prine's selftided debut album was a stunner that combined the singer-songwriter's sharp wit with an emotional depth that was free of the pathos that often accompanies songs about tragic characters and situations. He sang tenderly of an aging couple who'd grown apart ("Hello in There"), a pair of young misfits who dreamed of love ("Donald and Lydia"), and a soldier who returned home from the war with a smack habit ("Sam Stone").

The strongest material on John Prine adds big doses of humor to the harsh realities he sang about. …

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