I've ever actually seen John Prine. Which raises the question: Does John Prine even truly exist? He does. And I have his new CD, Fair & Square (Oh Boy Records, 2005), in my hand (well, the case is in my hand; the CD itself is playing itself silly across the room) to prove it. And it's packed full of new (and not particularly new) songs that attest quite handily to the existence of John Prine. I mean, who else could describe what you find when you open up mean people:
| A few frozen pizzas |
Some ice cubes with hair
A broken Popsicle
You don't want to go there. . . .
So, that settled, I can tell you how wonderful this album is. Simple, folky chords, simple, plainspoken, hard-lived, suntanned language stung with Prine's wry, wise observations. He's a guy half listening to his wife's harping, or recounting the sweet perfection of his hometown. He sings, or kind of sings, or just talks, and it all sounds good and important, like advice.