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Tommy Prine (from the album This Far South available on Nameless Knight Records/Thirty Tigers) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Naturally, there are always great expectations when a son follows in his father’s footsteps. And when that father happened to be the late great John Prine… well, suffice it to say, the expectations soar even higher.
Happily, then, Tommy Prine doesn’t attempt to emulate his dad. Not only would it have put pressure on him to attain an extraordinarily high bar, but he would have likely faced a backlash from those who either faulted him for failing to do so — if that was indeed the case — or having the gall to attempt it in the process.
As a result, the younger Prine sets his own standard by sharing a sound that has little to do with his father’s trademark tunes. Enlisting the aid and assistance of co-producers Gena Johnson and Ruston Kelly — the latter an accomplished singer and songwriter in his own right — he’s created a set of songs that run the gamut from outright rockers like “Elohim” and “Crashing Again” to those with more sobering sentiments, such as “Reach the Sun”, “Some Things”, “Letter to My Brother”, and “By the Way”. Like his dad, the younger Prine puts an abundance of thought and consideration into each of his offerings, but he distinguishes himself by opting for a more straight-ahead approach, one that eschews the kind of autobiographical narratives his father was famous for in favor of a more personal perspective.
With the aforementioned “By the Way” he confronts the challenges of living in his father’s shadow (‘by the way, people say I look just like him’) with both honesty and humility. Still, that doesn’t prevent him from exuding the robust revelry found in “Mirror and a Kitchen Sink” in particular. With a supporting cast that includes Johnson on backing vocals, Kelly on banjo, acoustic guitar and backing vocals, guitarist Sadler Vaden, drummer Fred Eltringham, bassist Eli Beard, Jarrad K on keys, synth, vibraphone and harmonium, Tim Kelly playing pedal steel, and Zach Casebolt arranging the strings, the songs are clear and concise, bereft of affectation and, instead, flush with genuine emotion.
The one song that does bring some similarity his dad is the closing track, “I Love You, Always”, a heartfelt ballad played mainly on acoustic guitar and sung with the purity and purpose the senior Prine was famous for.
This Far South likely won’t elevate him to anything near the storied stature of his father, and that’s to be expected. At very least however, it should show that this talented 27-year-old is quite capable of making memorable music under his own aegis. And given the fact that this is his first ever outing, the results reflect that resolve particularly well. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Tommy Prine from AMAZON
For more information, please visit the Tommy Prine website
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