John Prine’s music has always been about the stories. In song he sings from all perspectives and about many walks of life. On stage he weaves tales sometimes so hilarious it’s easy to get a sideache and just outlandish enough to make one question the validity.
And that’s what makes his latest live collection, In Person & On Stage so enjoyable.
While it’s not one full show, rather selections from recordings from his 2007 tour spanning across the country meaning listeners are treated to the cream of the crop.
One such moment is from the fables Red Rocks Amphitheater, where he was joined by Emmylou Harris on “Angel From Montgomery.” having been at that show, we can verify that it’s nearly as transcendental on tape as it was live.
Josh Ritter, Sara Watkins, Iris Dement and Kane Welch Kaplin also make appearances, filling in vocals where appropriate and adding a smorgasbord of texture to the performances.
Some of the choice stories: writing “In Spite of Ourselves” for a movie in which John was cast as the “brother-in-law with low self-esteem,” learning guitar from his brother (in the story before “Bear Creek Blues”) and everyone’s favorite “heard-it-before-but-still-great,” the story behind “Flag Decal.”
Both for keeping memories fresh or experiencing a missed show, In Person & On Stage is intimate and refreshingly funny for a set of live recordings.