Have you ever completely stumbled across an album that you ended up absolutely loving? That happened to me with In Person & On Stage, the latest album (and second live release) from John Prine. I'm not even going to pretend; somehow Prine's 40+ year career has completely marched past my ears unnoticed. Until now.
There are just some artists that are born story tellers. Johnny Cash comes to mind as a universal example that everyone should connect with. When Johnny sang about sleeping with his best friend's wife, even if it wasn't true, for the brief minutes you were listening, it felt true. He just had that quality about him that made you stop and listen. John Prine is like that. A lot like that.
This latest album of his collects live songs from the last few years, and for each and every one there is some sort of story that goes along with it. Some are brief, some last a few minutes. All of them feel genuine and warm, as if he's letting each and every listener into his life. Prine comes across as that grandfather that every grandchild climbs over, wanting to sit on his lap and hear stories. His songs are heartfelt to the core. It's just that simple. Simple songs about simple feelings that are universal.
And if you don't take my word for it, listen to Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs Of John Prine, a tribute album containing twelve of his songs performed by various artists who look up to him such as Josh Ritter (who's been playing a cover version of My Mexican Home in concert for many years now), Connor Oberst, Justin Townes Earle, Sara Watkins, Deer Tick, and others.