Googling John Prine, I was stunned to see his age: 60. With most pop music stars, the surprise is in seeing how old they are; with Prine, the shock was that he was that young. Part of my surprise can be chalked up to the fact that Prine was diagnosed with throat cancer a decade ago, in his early 50s. Some of it is due to the fact that his signature song, “Angel From Montgomery,” has been covered so often that it seems to date back to forever. The best reason for thinking Prine was older, though, is that his music has a timelessness to it. That’s never more true than on the new CD “Standard Songs for Average People,” a duet album with singer Mac Wiseman (age 81). Prine and Wiseman put a warm, charming, old-fashioned stamp on country-folk tunes past, seemingly aiming for a sound that recalls the 1930s more than the ’00s. And the selected tunes themselves bespeak a sense of age; three of them – “Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine,” “Old Cape Cod” and “Old Rugged Cross” – feature the word ‘old.’ Despite being younger than the eternally rocking Mick Jagger (63), and the continually reinventing Bob Dylan (65), Prine seems to see himself as old. “Standard Songs” features a take on Bob Wills’ “Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Age,” and in “Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine,” he gets to the heart of the matter by asking point-blank: “How old do you think I am?” Prine plays Monday, April 16 at the Wheeler Opera House, with singer-songwriter Mindy Smith opening. For a look at a younger version of Prine – long, black hair; cigarette dangling from his mouth – see the newly released DVD “Live on Soundstage 1980.” Even there, Prine shows a taste for the older ways; the introduction to the DVD has him driving through his hometown of Maywood, Ill., in a 1940s vintage automobile.
Let’s hope Aspen’s contingent of skier-partiers didn’t burn themselves out on back-to-back weekends of closing day festivities at Aspen Highlands. There’s one more closing-day bash to make your way through before settling into an offseason stupor. Snowmass winds things down in high style, with an après-ski bash Sunday, April 15 at the Cirque Bar & Grill. The party features music by Ellemenopee, the latest funk-rock project led by singer Randolph Turner; sitting in will be Turner’s keyboard-playing buddy from the mid-’90s Monkey Train era, Rob Dasaro. For those heading to Aspen, the party continues that night at Belly Up, with Cut Chemist, a DJ from the hip-hop group Jurassic 5. Downvalley, the music and merriment carry on at Carbondale’s Thunder River Theatre, where oddball Austin band the Asylum Street Spankers toast KDNK’s 24th birthday.
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