The Rewind

Ireland Mourns John Prine

Ireland Mourns John Prine

John Prine, the postman turned legend of country music, died yesterday. Prine grew up around Chicago but Ireland can claim him. Prine would claim Ireland as well. Prine was married to a Donegal woman. He owned a house near Kinvara, in one of the most beautiful parts of this country. He would visit Galway in the summer and was famous for dropping into the trad session held every Monday evening in the summer in Green's pub in the coastal south Galway town.

It was something that I always found made both Prine and Ireland so unique. A legitimate giant of American music could be found playing tunes on a Monday night for free in the corner of a Galway pub.

Prine told the Irish Times that Ireland brought him back to his childhood.

"I think it was because it reminded me of America in the 1950s and 1960s when I was growing up. It was my favourite time.”

And so today, along with the rest of the music-loving world, Ireland mourns John Prine.

While trawling through the countless tributes to Prine on social media, it was amazing to see just how many times Ireland came up. Perhaps it's people who discovered Prine through Greens, or perhaps Americans who were shocked to encounter him in Galway or Clare on a summer night. Clearly, that south Galway landscapes had etched themselves on his voice and mind.

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Tonight on his essential programme, John Creedon played an hour of Prine songs. You got the sense that he could have played 8-10 hours if the station would allow him. His death is an extraordinary loss. Singers like John Prine don't come much any more and we send our condolences to his family.

For what it's worth, Springsteen's tribute was pretty good.

Over here on E Street, we are crushed by the loss of John Prine. John and I were "New Dylans" together in the early 70s and he was never anything but the lovliest guy in the world. A true national treasure and a songwriter for the ages. We send our love and prayers to his family

Here's a recording of Prine from Green's back in 2011.

Donny Mahoney

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