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  • Writer's pictureKate Clarke

Dear John

Prine Primed.

Incited by the Songwriting of John Prine.

Cowboy Jamboree Press. Edited by Adam Van Winkle. 

A new release from Cowboy Jamboree Press corrals a collection of salty and flavourful short fiction, remembrances and poems, all tipping their hat to John Prine.

Prine was a master at introducing the listener to subtly-sketched, but living, breathing and grieving characters, whose stories, you were certain, continued to play out long after the needle left the groove - if only we could hang out with them on that porch, on that riverbank, or in that gas station for a little longer.  This collection sees a group of skilled and soulful writers, including Mose Coote, Jon Sokol, and Anthony Koranda, give the reader that same sense of hankering after unfinished business.

These characters stay with you: the elderly married folks leaving the funeral of a friend and stopping off at the store to buy light bulbs they know will outlast them, the good samaritan truck mechanic who has a brief encounter with a mysterious couple when he pulls over to fix their enmeshed gear-rods, the junkies trying hard, or not so hard, to map out an attainable future for themselves.  Jessica Burdg’s remembrance of sitting on a scratchy back porch swing “a little past lightning bug hour”, listening to Fish and Whistle with her father, who has long since forgotten the moment, is particularly affecting, amid a collection that is vivid and satisfying. 

There are remembrances from musicians and radio folks, like Kent Rose - another former mailman who sings - of meeting Prine. These are touching, too. A sweet reminder that the musicians we value are, first and foremost, fans themselves. 


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