Thursday, February 11, 2016


The interwebs can occasionally give you a cool surprise.  I'm not talking about a funny kitten video on Facebook, I'm talking about something that reaches out and grabs you.  Such a thing happened to me yesterday.  I was searching for something and came across a mention of the singer John Prine.  He was pretty big when I was in college back in the mid-70's.  Songs like "Sam Stone" and "Hello In There" were powerful stories about ordinary people.  My friends and I listed to him a lot.  And then I went away to the Navy and got into other things and didn't hear much about John Prine for years.

So yesterday, his name popped up on my computer.  It was the old "cool, hadn't heard of him for years, wonder what he's doing now?" kinda thing.  So I clicked on the link and several things happened.

First, I watched a video about creativity.  It featured several ordinary people doing really creative things.  Then it got to John Prine about halfway through.  The host/interviewer talked with John about his songs, where they came from, how he put them together, and what it meant to perform them.  Fascinating stuff.  John's approach to music is similar to my approach to painting: we both find meaning in the stories of ordinary people.  Neither of us is interested in glitz, glam, a big show, or fame.  (A damn good thing on my part, since I have none of that, but John has a good bit of well-earned fame among those who like a powerful, well-crafted ballad).  It was great to hear the backstory on specific songs and hear his discussion of the creative process because it was all stuff that I could relate to.

John's had a hard time: he fought cancer and the surgery took a big chunk out of his throat.  But it left his vocal cords.  They're a bit mangled, but still there.  He's still touring, too.  I'd love to see him in person.  He was here in Asheville three years ago, so maybe he'll come back.

Oh, and the video?  Here 'tis:

A second thing that happened was that I discovered an interesting site for thoughtful, well-told stories.  The one with John Prine is just one of many such shows.  The Telling Well is host to quite a number of forays into what it means to be human.  Youngsters in school bands, experiences in volunteering, stories of faith and redemption, what it means to have a new start - these are stories that we can relate to.  Great stuff.  Go look.  It's at

And the third thing that came out of that click: I just went on iTunes and bought the John Prine album that I listened to back in college.