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The Ultimate Storyteller, John Prine

Today, our hopes are with country folk singer-songwriter John Prine as he battles COVID-19.

Born and raised in west suburban Maywood, Illinois, he was a prominent member of Chicago’s folk revival in the early 1970s. Prine is a masterful storyteller known for his humorous lyrics about love, life, and current events, as well as serious songs with social commentary.

While taking classes at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music and working as a mailman, Prine would sing original songs at the Chicago folk club The Fifth Peg. A young journalist named Roger Ebert happened to hear one of his sets and gave him his first-ever review in the Chicago Sun-Times, praising his songwriting as “closer to Hank Willilams than to Roger Williams, closer to Dylan than to Ochs.”

Listen to Prine’s 1975 interview with Studs Terkel as they discuss his family’s Kentucky roots, his childhood, and his career.

Undated John Prine publicity photograph. CHM, ICHi-039836

Explore the full Studs Terkel Radio Archive, which features more than 1,200 programs and  interviews with the 20th century’s most fascinating people. Browse the archive.

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