Various Artists: Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine

Various Artists: Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine
In his nearly 40 year career, John Prine has recorded nearly 17 albums as well as two greatest hits collections and several live albums. In 2003, Prine was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for songwriting by the UK’s BBC Radio 2 and that same year was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Bob Dylan told the Huffington Post that Prine was one of his favorite writers, stating “Prine’s stuff is pure Proustian existentialism”. It is no surprise that a John Prine tribute album would bring out of the woodwork such talents as Bon Iver, My Morning Jacket, Lambchop, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Drive-By Truckers among others.
Despite the critical acclaim and high profile fans, the name John Prine does not really ring a bell for the majority of today’s indie rock fans. That is where Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows shines. The album’s top notch talent is sure to draw attention to John Prine’s song writing and back catalog.
Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band contribute an upbeat version of “Wedding Day In Funeralville”. Oberst’s Bob Dylan-esque vocals and the track’s raucous feel do not exactly let Prine’s words resonate, but it does deliver the album’s most enjoyable tracks.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Josh Ritter‘s rendition of “Mexican Home” is one of the least fun tracks on the album. The track is slow plodding and features just Ritter and an acoustic guitar. Even though Ritter’s version does not have the glitz and glamor of Oberst’s, it does really let Prine’s words sing for themselves.
Either way, Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows really delivers some great rendition of Prine’s work. Whether you like a little more boisterous alt-country or more toned-down folk sound, Prine’s work is interpreted into both and some places in between.
Rating: 7.0/10
MP3: Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band “Wedding Day In Funeralville”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!