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Singer-songwriter John Prine began his career in Chicago, but even before he was performing his songs at open mics around the city, he took guitar lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music, which placed him in the center of the city’s thriving folk revival. Surrounded by stringband and country music traditions, poetic expression, and political protest, Prine broke out from the local clubs to the national stage with his 1971 debut album—which features the now-classic songs “Angel from Montgomery,” “Paradise,” and “Sam Stone”—and became one of Chicago’s most lauded and successful songwriters.
During this program, Greg Cahill, banjo player and founding member of Chicago-based bluegrass band Special Consensus; Mark Guarino, journalist and author of Country and Midwestern: Chicago in the History of Country Music and the Folk Revival; singer-songwriter Bonnie Koloc, an influential member of the 1970s Chicago folk community; Oh Boy Records President Fiona Whelan Prine, John Prine’s wife; and Oh Boy Records Director of Operations Jody Whelan, John Prine’s oldest son, will explore the environment that nurtured Prine’s music, exposed him to the country and folk music canon, and connected him with friends and collaborators such as Steve Goodman, with whom he wrote “the perfect country and western song,” “You Never Even Called Me by My Name.” They will also share the story of Prine’s Wurlitzer jukebox, which was a gift from Goodman to Prine, loaded with 78s of many of the country songs the two listened to when they were young, and which will be on display in the Museum starting October 8. The Museum’s RJ Smith will host this program, which will also include brief performances. Ford Theater. Included with Museum admission. Program ticket required. Free to Museum members.
When purchasing admission:
- select the date of this program,
- select a gallery entry time of 1:30 p.m. or earlier,
- select your Experience, and
- select the Exhibit Program as an add-on.