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Dear Ann,

If you already knew about this and didn’t tell me, you’re in big trouble, lady.

A couple weeks ago, I was scrolling YouTube for sad songs (as one does), and stumbled onto a house concert that took place in December 2018. John Prine playing to a living room-sized audience, in George Stroumboulopoulos’s living room.

It’s beautifully filmed and recorded, and so intimate. No glare of concert-hall lighting, no waving phones. All the singing-along (and they sing along with every word) is silent.

Gordon Lightfoot was in the front row, eyes shining.

There were tears on the screen, and tears in my living room. John Prine’s plainspoken eloquence, the utter decency in his songs, were just what I needed in that moment. To watch this concert with the knowledge of what was to come—that John Prine would die in 2020, in the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic, is a heavy thing.

His love of life, and our flawed lives, was a gift. We can only be grateful, and smile at all the funny lines.



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  • Thank you for such a lovely gift.

  • I was fortunate enough to see him a few years ago. His life was a gift to us all.

  • Lovely, just a correction, the host is a local Torontonian George Stroumboulopoulis

    • Thanks for the catch. I like how I totally made up his first name. :/ I blame it on the tears while I was typing.

      • Anytime John’s music is shared, humankind is a better place. I’d seen this before on YouTube and the magic of the evening was palpable in the room! Thanks for sharing.

  • Thank you for sharing this. We were so saddened upon hearing of John Prine’s death. I know he left behind many who loved him and also fans around the world. We were scheduled to see him in concert in April before Covid changed everything. His music will continue to touch hearts and bring smiles.

  • This interview of John Prine by Anna Sale is also pretty great:

  • Thank you so much for this. John Prine’s death from Covid-19 seemed (and still seems) so cruel. We got to see him a few times here in Chicagoland, once with Lucinda Williams. Every time I hear him sing, I remember the magic he created in a room.

    • Ohh, I’ll bet that was a wonderful concernt.

  • oh my goodness. i don’t usually spend saturday morning weeping. thanks for this. it’s good weeping.

    • Right?


    • I saw this shortly after the news of his passing …
      He is still a lifeline of humanity and humour in the stream of collective consciousness …

  • “If they knew where you were thinkin’, they’d a-run you outta Lincoln.”

    • Isn’t that great? He mentions Omaha in Hello In There, but I don’t know that he had a personal Nebraska connection beyond his fishing buddy.

  • When I need a sad song my go to is Ricki Lee Jones’ Company and John Prime’s Come On Home.

    • Rikki Lee Jones is amazing … 1st album still resonates beautifully …

  • omg!! What a lovely and blessed treat. My sweet husband feels so much better for this. And so do I

  • My husband is a huge fan of John Prine – and it didn’t take much to convince me as one, too. I love his duo with Iris Dement “In Spite of Ourselves.” It’s become our ‘roadtrip’ song.

  • Thank you.

  • Sigh. Dear, dear John Prine. I’m still mourning his death.

    The most apt quote I’ve heard said about him is that he was probably your favorite songwriter’s favorite songwriter.

    A hugely underrated musical genius.

  • I’m in the hospital and that little time with John Prine was just what I needed, sitting here with my earbuds and pad. He has gotten me through some hard times but this is one more thing I can add to the books and thank you so much

  • I’ve loved John Prine forever. What a treasure….

  • What an etherial surprise, to find John Prine in his element. My heart soared. This was a gift. Thanks for sharing this slice of John Prine singing with people he loved who loved him. Gordon Lightfoot being there, watching him sing along, was another surprise.

    I needed this. Thank you, John.

  • I would have paid just to stand outside
    the door for that! Just outstanding!
    Thank You!

  • I love this website … But I don’t knit …

  • The sweetest and saddest story I saw last week was a news clipping that John’s wife Fiona had scattered his ashes on the Green River near Paradise, Kentucky. This concert is an absolute gem!!

  • Wow-thanks for sharing this!! Thank you for everything you do and share!!

  • What a gift. Thanks for sharing. I hope he’s laughing
    with the aunties and a cigarette thats 9 miles long.

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