Friday, October 22, 2010

John Prine, First concerts, and Tic Tacs

The first concert I remember attending was when I was about six or seven. It was Arlo Guthrie and John Prine at Memorial Auditorium, and I got a full package of orange Tic Tacs for the occasion. I loved orange Tic Tacs. I loved their little medicine-like packaging, and how they tasted, and mostly ... how they smelled.

I remember listening to Arlo Guthrie, hoping more than anything that he would go ahead and sing "This Land is Your Land," and smelling those little orange tablets. As I took a deep whiff of orangy-sweetness, I noticed the candy was not on my finger anymore. It was somewhere up my nose.

Most of that night was pretty stressful because I knew I had been foolish. I couldn't possibly tell my parents that I had inhaled a Tic Tac, but I knew I didn't want to live my entire life with orange candy up my nose. Eventually, I sneezed, and relief abounded. But that's what I think of when I think of my first concert.

So, who's going to John Prine tonight at the Palace? He's my Grateful Dead. I've seen him more times than I've seen Johnny Berry. Well, that may not be true, but it's probably pretty close. It's my mom's fault, as she played him for me in the womb. For years, I thought "Illegal Smile" was "Illy Ol' Smile," like some sort of deedly-dee Irish song about smiling. I remember laughing at the "Happy Enchilada" girl on that live album for years before I figured out the "Illegal Smile" thing sometime in high school.

For years, most of my friends had never heard of him. Now he's somehow made this foray into the hipster scene, which is totally okay with me. It means I hear him on the radio when I'm in places outside of Kentucky. It means when I sing one of his songs in remote Isles of Scotland, someone in the audience smiles extra.

I got to meet him when he was here in November 2008, thanks to my friend Al, as well as my friend Tim Krekel. They both knew I'd wanted to meet him, and Tim was a friend of John's. Even today, Tim's Facebook profile picture remains a photo that we took that night of Tim, Debbie, John Prine, me, and John's bass player Dave. It was a fun night, and of course I told JP I wanted to play accordion with him someday. He smiled and said he'd heard I played with Elvis, and that it would be fun to play a few next time he's in town. He even named of a few tunes that would work well with the accordion. (My blog from that week recounts the story.) Well, I don't think it's going to happen tonight because JP seems a bit more shy than Elvis, but I'm still really excited about going to the concert.

So thanks, Tim, and thanks, Al, and maybe I'll see some of you folks with good taste in music out at the Palace tonight. I'll bring the Tic Tacs.

Good Show alert!
Friday, October 29, The Rudyard Kipling. 7:30.
If you can't afford the big-ticket shows like the Palace or you prefer intimate venues rather than the YUM! Arena, then mark your calendar this minute for next Friday, when John Prine's guitar player, Jason Wilber, will be playing at the Rud. I hate that that's the first thing everyone says about him because he's a tremendous singer-songwriter on his own, without the John Prine name-dropping. But I admite that's what first piqued my interest in his music, and if you like John Prine, you'll like Jason Wilber. Anyway, the price to see Jason solo is $8 in advance (www.jasonwilber.net/tickets) or $10 at the door. If you go, tell him I sent you. That way maybe he won't think of me as just the crazy-girl-who-emailed-him-asking-to-play-accordion-with-John-Prine. He'll think of me instead as a powerful marketing tool, hee hee. I had every intention of dropping by the Rud that night to play some tunes with Jason and opening act Joel Timothy (whose songwriting i LOVE!), but instead, I'll be in Paris that night. Woe is me!

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