Sunday, June 7, 2009

John Prine/Steve Earle - Wolf Trap - June 5

I've seen John Prine many times (and many of those times at Wolf Trap). Walking in we talked of our dear old friend Mark, who would rarely venture out to concerts, but would always buy tickets for this show as soon as they went on sale. Mark's stories and poems are similar to John's songs in that you know that some of them are going to make you really sad and you know that some of them are going to make you laugh out loud. 

Mark would have enjoyed Friday's show and because you go expecting to see him play many of the great songs from his deep catalog of classic and Prine did not disappoint us.  It had been some time since I had been to Wolf Trap and I had almost forgotten what a beautiful venue it is and what great sound they deliver. I sat in a balcony box for Steve Earle, then moved down below to the orchestra section for John Prine. Sound was great in both locations. Fortunately the week long rain had come to an end and the weather was comfortable.

Steve Earle started the show playing guitar and singing. His latest album is a tribute to the late songwriter Townes Van Zandt and most of the set consisted of Van Zandt songs. I'm not as up to speed on either Townes Van Zandt or Steve Earle as perhaps I should be, but it was a very nice set of songs. I particularly liked "Pancho and Lefty" which has also been covered by Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, and Old and in the Way (on their "Old and in the Gray" album). You hear Steve Earle regularly on Sirius XM's "Outlaw Country", in fact he has a show on that channel called "Hardcore Troubadour Radio".  Often Steve records with a full band and I think that presents him and his songs in a better setting, but no complaints about Friday's solo acoustic set.

John Prine played in a trio with Dave Jacques (bass) and Jason Wilber (guitars and mandolin) and as mentioned every song felt like a putting on a comfortable old slipper. He did 3 or 4 songs in the middle of the set without backup and there was one song that we had not heard him do in concert before, "Bad Boy", which was quite good. John was in fine spirits and filling the space between songs with interesting tid bits and observations. "Angel from Montgomery" was great, but it always is, and he brought Steve Earle out to sing and play mandolin for the encore "Muhlenberg County".

Sitting between two beautiful women, listening to two great singer songwriters on a lovely spring evening at Wolf Trap Park. One show worth remembering. 

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