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Statement on the death of John Prine

Date: Thu 9th Apr, 2020 | 18:31

“It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of John Prine, songwriter, musician and great friend of Ireland.

John Prine was a true master of songcraft. A gifted and evocative lyricist, he was the songwriter other songwriters looked to for inspiration. He was a voice of tolerance, inclusion, whimsy, and protest.

John’s songs are marked by a sensitivity and social conscience and capture the experience of those on the margins in societies, who have suffered broken dreams, broken homes, and broken hearts. His songs were profound and soulful, often sorrow-tinged, but ultimately affirming and wrapped in a distinctively mischievous humour.

John left a very deep impression on the people of the West of Ireland. A regular feature of and beloved presence in Galway, his songs brought a troupe of captivating characters with him and set them free in small packed rooms in Kinvara, Headford and Galway City.

He had a great love for the Irish landscape, especially the Burren and Flaggy Shore, as well as for the Irish people with whom he felt a great freedom. He was held in deep affection and warmth in particular in the village of Kinvara, where he had a home, and where his sessions in Greene’s were legendary.

Despite being one of Johnny Cash’s ‘big four’ he was marked by a great humility. He always used local musicians as support acts for his concerts in Ireland, and collaborated with renowned Irish musicians, such as Dolores Keane, Paul Brady, Declan O’Rourke, Arty McGlynn, and most particularly before his passing, ‘the clontarf cowboy’ Philip Donnelly. It was fitting that he was the last act to play a concert in Seapoint as a venue before it was converted to a bingo hall

Sabina and I offer our condolences to his wife Fiona Whelan, who shared his musical and life journey with him, and children Tommy and Jack and Jody all of whom as musicians keep his legacy alive, as well as his bandmates of twenty years guitarist Jason Wilber and bassist Dave Jacques and those of his extended family and friends who mourn his passing.”