Search - Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, My Morning Jacket :: Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs Of John Prine

Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs Of John Prine
Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, My Morning Jacket
Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs Of John Prine
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
 
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

Today's avant-roots renaissance owes a great debt to John Prine's laconic, ever-questioning poetic quality. Featuring 12 newly-recorded versions of classic Prine songs, "Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine" ...  more »

     
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Today's avant-roots renaissance owes a great debt to John Prine's laconic, ever-questioning poetic quality. Featuring 12 newly-recorded versions of classic Prine songs, "Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine" boasts an enviable roll call of inventive musicians, including My Morning Jacket, The Avett Brothers, Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, and more. That Prine's perspective flourishes so vividly in these modern recastings is testament to not only the sheer power of his songs, but to the subtly defiant undercurrent that runs throughout his music.

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CD Reviews

Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: A Wonderful Musical Tribute T
Mark | East Coast | 06/21/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine is perhaps the best tribute album in recent memory. It's melancholy, upbeat, beautiful and emotional all at once. As a fan of the songs of John Prine and of music, new and old, I am really happy that this album was put together. I know little about how this came together and whose brain-child it was, but I wish I knew who to thank.

This collection has the potential to introduce a new generation to the wonderful songs of John Prine. And it also has the potential to introduce dedicated John Prine fans to some of today's best recording artists.

There's something for everybody here, from neo-folk to indie rock. As somebody who generally is not attracted to covers, this album is full of fantastic renditions of John's music from start to finish.

It doesn't hurt that some of my favorite bands are included here, from the lovely understated take on "All The Best" from My Morning Jacket, to the beautifully haunting rendition of "Bruised Orange" done by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Though it's hard to pick favorites on this album, those two are probably mine, along with "Mexican Home" and "The Late John Garfield Blues."

Josh Ritter's no frills take on "Mexican Home" mirrors John's own performances of the song. Perhaps it's not surprising that Josh, a great songwriter in his own right, is so respectful of this classic. Justin Townes Earle's take on "Far From Me" is similarly nuanced, sung to simple banjo accompaniment. Sara Watkins, formerly of Nickel Creek, gives a lovely rendition of "The Late John Garfield Blues." And Deer Tick joins with Liz Isenberg for a beautiful rendition of "Unwed Fathers."

Though many of the songs are tinged with John's beautifully melancholy lyrics, there are a variety of songs included here. Conor Oberst & TMVB, of Bright Eyes and Monsters Of Folk fame, should need no introduction to music fans. "Wedding Day In Funeralville" is his contribution, and it's got a great country rock feel to it.

"Spanish Pipedream" is given an upbeat treatment by the Avett Brothers in keeping with the original. The up-tempo bluegrass sound provides a lovely bridge between the melancholy "Far From Me" and the beautiful "Angel From Montgomery," one of the best known Prine songs and a nice introduction to Old Crow Medicine Show. Other up-tempo tracks include the rockabilly-esque rendition of "Daddy's Little Pumpkin" by the Drive By Truckers. And the take on "Let's Talk Dirty In Hawaiian" by Those Darlins can only be described as playful alt-country pop.

Lambchop's "Six O'Clock News" is almost conversational in a Leonard Cohen sort of way. It's so understated that it may not be as immediately accessible as some of the more traditional takes on this album. But with repeated listens it has grown on me.

CONCLUSION

The alternative country genre really seems like it's reaching a climax now, and a lot of great bands showcase their chops here. There can be no better time for a tribute to John Prine. And even as somebody who buys a lot of new music, this album opened my eyes to several groups I haven't listened to a lot in the past. I definitely recommend this album to fans of John Prine and new music lovers alike.

Enjoy."
+ 1/2 stars An Homage to One of the Best Singer/Songwriters
Steve Vrana | Aurora, NE | 06/23/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I've been a fan of John Prine for more than three decades. His albums never disappoint--and that includes last month's live album IN PERSON & ON STAGE. However, I've always been a bit leery of tribute albums. But after one listen, this is an excellent collection of some of Prine's best known songs.

1. The album begins with a reverb-soaked vocal from Bon Iver's Justin Vernon on "Chain of Sorrow," which gives the song a haunting quality.

2. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band crank up the tempo with a rousing interpretation of "Wedding Day in Funeralville." Clocking in at just over two minutes, it is by far the shortest track.

3. Jim James' gossamer falsetto adds a delicate beauty to "All the Best," one of my favorite Prine songs.

4. Josh Ritter (who also guested on Prine's recent live album) turns in a sparse arrangement accompanying himself on guitar in a moving version of "Mexican Home."

5. Lambchop's version of "Six O'Clock News" is my least favorite. This country-tinged rendition has some great acoustic guitar, but the vocal never really catches fire.

6. Justin Townes Earl--whose voice is very reminiscent of his dad's--does a heartfelt version of "Far from Me."

7. The Avett Brothers do a toe-tapping, old timey rendition of "Spanish Pipedream." Yee-haw!

8. Give the Old Crow Medicine Show points for chutzpah for taking on what is perhaps Prine's best known song, but they put their own spin on "Angel from Montgomery." The dobro and harmonica are nice touches.

9. Sara Watkins (formerly of Nickel Creek) does an absolutely gorgeous version of "The Late John Garfield Blues."

10. The Drive-By Truckers turn up the Southern boogie factor with their pull-out-all-the-stops performance of "Daddy's Little Pumpkin."

11. Liz Isenberg's shared vocal is a nice fit with John McCauley's rough-around-the-edges vocal on Deer Tick's version of "Unwed Fathers."

12. Prine could exhibit a keen sense of humor in his songwriting, and Those Darlins do him proud in their festive version of "Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian."

This project took two years to complete, and was released on Prine's own Oh Boy label. It's encouraging to see these contemporary artists paying homage to one of the great singer/songwriters. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED [Running Time - 44:03]"
I'd pass on this if I could do it again. Get the originals.
Back to Tennessee | Seattle, WA | 06/22/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I love love love me some John Prine and I was excited as heck to hear his songs done by some of my favorite new artists, but they left me disappointed. Nothing beats the original.

Nothing against these artists, the songs just lack a certain something, or that "soul" that Mr Prine puts into the originals. It's almost as if these covers were thrown together fairly quick without allowing the artists time to fully grasp the songs they covered.

It feels like whomever put this album together was trying to get the younger generation familiar with Jhn Prine and the older generation that is already John Prine fans familiar with the newer artists. They failed both sides in this undertaking in that you don't get to hear the soul of John Prine or the full talents of some of the new artists. That said, these are still some great songs. I would just rather hear them done by the master."