MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT) — Saturday marked the beginning of birthday celebrations honoring the late Grammy-award winning artist John Prine at John Prine Memorial Park.
Musicians across the U.S. visited Muhlenberg County and were able to take the stage and enjoy each other play Prine’s music and other songs in the folk and country genres.
Prine was remembered Saturday as an artist who never forgot his Kentucky roots, which is arguably best written in his song “Paradise,” where he talks about his love for Kentuckians, the Green River and the Rochester Dam between Muhlenberg County and Butler County.
Prine would frequently visit Muhlenberg County as a child, as an adult and up until his death in 2020.
“His heart and soul — along with he and The Everly Brothers and Merle Travis and many others — have their musical connections here in Muhlenberg County,” said Malcolm West, who serves as a committee member for the Friends of John Prine Memorial Park.
Among the musicians in attendance was Prine’s youngest son — Tommy.
Tommy Prine traveled from Nashville to perform “Paradise” for the audience, and he tells Eyewitness News that Kentucky has become a second home after visiting many times over the years.
“I think it never ceases to amaze me whenever I’m either at a concert — like a tribute concert — or when I was younger at one of his own shots, and I see all these folks showing up to celebrate and listen to music of him performing,” Tommy Prine said. “And, now that he’s gone, it just means even more that people still take the time and drive all over the world and all over the country just to come to Kentucky to come out and celebrate my dad.”
Prine’s fans traveled as far as Northern California, Colorado, Saskatchewan and Buffalo, New York to enjoy his music.
Chuck Carter drove from New Jersey this week to play a couple of Prine’s songs on stage.
Despite listening to all kinds of genres, Carter says Prine’s music is extra important to him.
“I just love John Prine so much that I had to be here — even if it was just to play two songs,” Carter said. “He was just the perfect song writer for his type of music.”
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