Fair and Square [Limited Green]
This late-career gem from the beloved songwriter highlights the hope, humor, and underdog rage that animate his best work.
By 2005, John Prine had lived many lives. In his formative years, he had been a Vietnam-era draftee, a mailman, and a contender in the very-bizarre-in-retrospect New Dylan sweepstakes of the early 1970s. Singing in the folk clubs of Chicago, he was discovered by Kris Kristofferson and widely admired by everyone around him, including Dylan himself. But he remained a cult act, a “songwriter's songwriter,” which is just another way of saying not that many people listened. Prine’s audience considered him to be a genius, but his genius was for modesty and humor, and modesty and humor don’t always scale. No writer during the 20th century wrote more beautifully about the overlooked, the under-acknowledged, or the never-thought-about-at-all.
John Prine - Fair & Square Review