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John Prine

This was not going to be my next post. Fate steps in and calls on me to share one of the wonderful performers we had a chance to see live. John Prine is as as close as I am to someone contracting Covid-19 and, sadly he passed away last night due to complications. He had underlying health issues as he was a cancer survivor and was 73. The beauty is he leaves a rich book of songs and videos. I share three with you.

The last time Kathy and I saw John Prine he sang this song . It is normally a duet he sang with Iris Dement. Last night, we watched Kevin Bacon and Krya Sedgwick do it on Facebook. The audience howled with laughter as Prine sang the female parts. As you listen, you will understand the humour of the moment. It is called In Spite of Ourselves and is about a couple whose love is unquestionable and they are each other’s big door prize.

These links will take you to many others John Prine did, if you are inclined. He wrote and performed for 40 years and tackled social issues and love in various forms with humour and fearlessness. He is likely entertaining someone in the great beyond.

I played Paradise for students and it has a strong environmental message that echoes mine and I think Wendell Berry about what is lost as faceless corporations tear up Earth, haul it away in big trucks, and label it the progress of man. In Alberta, regulatory processes include land reclamation leaving it as good as it originally was . It reminds me ecology and economy are from the Greek oikos, meaning household.

I leave you with the Missing Years of Jesus, which was the first song I heard of John Prine. It is a tongue-in-cheek look at what we think we know about Jesus, a person we actually know little about in a historical sense.

About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

17 responses »

  1. “Paradise” one of my favorite songs ever by anyone- and my favorite of many songs by John Prine that I love.

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  2. I agree with you he is now entertaining in another dimension

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  3. Paradise is one of my favorites. Thanks.

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  4. Hi Ivon,
    I haven’t heard of him before, but Inspite of Ourselves was rather funny. I’m sorry he became a casualty of the coronavirus,especially after beating cancer. I’m a huge Goodies fan and was pretty saddened to hear that Tim Brooke Taylor was also a casualty of the virus. I hope you and yours are keeping safe and well.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

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    • Thank you Rowena. I think I overlooked answering you earlier. Prine had a great sense of humour. He sang that song solo at a concert we attended. He had the audience roaring with laughter. We have lost so many famous and otherwise. It is sad. Take care and stay well.

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      • I’m so sorry, Ivon. The news from overseas is tragic. So many people passing away. Things here in Australia aren’t too bad at this stage, but caution is needed. We have an aged care nurse who infected 9 people and down in Tasmania two hospitals have been closed down and about 5,000 people in quarantine. It’s so strange that this region of Tasmania has been infected because it’s so remote, but we had a cruise ship called the Ruby Princess which is responsible for most of the infections in Australia. The weird thing was that it didn’t go near Asia and was simply going between Australia and New Zealand. We’re sticking to ourselves at home grateful my husband’s job is safe.
        Take care.
        Best wishes,
        Rowena

      • We have relatives in Australia and know things are still under control, so to speak. Canada is doing better than many other countries. Where we live is just beginning to show a bit of surge in terms of cases. My wife is working at home, so that makes a difference. People here seem to have taken it seriously.

      • It’s looking like we may have dogged a bullet in Australia and New Zealand. At least, for the time being.
        I have been reminded of the AIDS epidemic through this and I actually worked in HIV/AIDS prevention towards the end of the major epidemic which especially hit Sydney in a big way. We had an ad here which showed how that one person might’ve had two partners and you didn’t know where everyone had been.
        We’ve just been at home with my husband going out to do the shopping and our daughter’s been going for some long walks. I take the dog for a walk along the beach and figure that’s pretty harmless at the end of the day where the waves are cleansing the sand and there’s all that space and very few people around. It’s also so good for my mental and spiritual health. I was down there today and a massive rainbow arched across the sky and it was just beautiful. It’s so important to remind ourselves of all the good and beautiful things around us when there’s so much tragedy and bad news around.
        I hope you stay clear of it in Cananda as well as for you and your wife. Our nephew lives over there and we also have some cousins on Vancouver Island. I which I could just hug the world and cleanse it from this virus and all the other nasties.
        Meantime, it’s after midnight here so I’d better go to bed.
        Best wishes,
        Rowena

      • Leadership at all levels makes a difference. I heard wonderful things about the Prime Minister of New Zealand. Although our Prime Minister and each provinical Premier is male, the faces for many of us are female. For example, the Deputy Prime Minister and many of our Chief Medical Officers are female and have played a central role in delivering the message. Quite often, they find ways to communicate a hard message with a sense of compassion. Yes, we do put the AIDS/HIV epidemic in the same category. We should, but it attacked marginalized groups and we ducked away.

        Vancouver Island is a beautiful part of Canada. It has been a few years since we travelled there to visit family.

        Take care and stay well.

  5. I’ve not heard of John Prine, Ivon. After listening to the first song I am sitting with a huge smile upon my face. Such humour and truth in a fabulous melody.
    I couldn’t help but visualise the huge chunks of earth removed for progress, so to speak, as I listened to your second offering; Paradise. The companies entrusted to refertiise the scars left do so at a snail pace. In some instances it takes years, and in others, never!
    The third song, Jesus The Missing Years, really showed the depth of this man. Fearless, honest, a true gentle man.
    Thank You, Ivon, for introducing me to this man. I’m sure he will be sorely missed.

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    • You are welcome Carolyn. I am glad you enoyed the music I included. He has a huge catalogue and I have been listening to him almost daily, finding myself surprised when I hear a previously undiscovered gem. He spoke to issues such as the environment as a true poet does and then was able to laugh at something like the Missing Years.

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  6. Ivon, I’m with you completely on John Prine. I was so lucky to see him Live as well (no pun intended). I was taking some solar courses in the summer of 92 in Carbondale Colorado and he played a free concert at the Vail Ski Resort. Love the three songs you choose. I just had started listening to his Tree of Forgiveness album this January. John Prine was such a down to earth guy.

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    • When we watched Austin City Limits the other night, it was the show featuring that album. He was truly down to earth and had a wicked humour. I loved him live. He sang Inspite of Ourselves and did the female parts, which was worth the price of admission. Take care and stay well Bruce.

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