JUNE 15, 2014 – John Prine was in the DC area on Friday to perform at the new Music Center at Strathmore, and played a packed house complete with a front row of the family and friends of John Prine’s “Best Fan Ever” from the DC area Mary Cahill (and the world according to John). Mary Cahill is no longer with us, and to pay tribute to her memory her family and friends made up t-shirts with pictures of Mary and the line “Memories, They Can’t be Boughten” from the Prine classic “Souvenirs”. John brought with him 2 guitar and mandolin players, and a stand-up bass player that really drove the sound and resonated warmly in the acoustically-designed auditorium. Carlene Carter opened up the show, and played many Carter Family classics and her voice was powerful and moving. Then, as Carlene put it, “Old Golden Throat” came out and from song one sounded relaxed and playful as you would expect from John Prine, with a very simple stage set and informal format. Often talking to the crowd, he would make jokes and make the audience relax and then launch into his songs and everyone would sing along. The set was primarily acoustic, but he did grab an electric for a couple of songs and they were rockin’. His band consisted of 3 awesome musicians, with Jason Wilber on Telecaster and some mandolin. Jason’s Telecaster fit in perfectly with John’s style, and he made that Telecaster hum and the crowd would cheer out on many lead solos. John’s long-time pal Pat McLaughlin played awesome mandolin that really added so much to the sound that night, and would also bring down the house with driving mandolin solos. Pat would also play occasional acoustic and electric guitar. Dave “Shaky Legs” Jaques played the AWESOME stand-up bass that would thump and drive in the great acoustics of the Music Center at Strathmore. John played such greats as “It’s a Big Old Goofy World” and “Crazy as a Loon” and from the looks of the crowd many hippies from the 1970s played Prine for their kids, and there were many young people in the crowd so Prine’s music reaches and spans across generations and is an American Treasure that is in good safekeeping to be treasured for generations to come.

Mary Cahill was a long-time devoted John Prine “Uberfan” that would attend John Prine concerts in the DC area mainly, and became good friends with Prine and would even meet with him backstage when he would come to town. During the show John told many stories about Mary. One in particular was when he was recovering from throat surgery and treatment for cancer he was afraid to sing in public. He booked a small gig because he might open up his mouth and nothing would come out and as John put it, “and so only 700 people would know about it”. He talked about how he got out of the car and there was his #1 fan Mary Cahill with her trademark John Prine t-shirt “as if to say everything is going to be okay”, and it was. John dedicated the first song to Mary, and played “Souvenirs”, as well as talk about Mary throughout the show. This shows the special connection John Prine has with his fan base, a connection that will endure for generations. So, if you haven’t seen John Prine yet or you haven’t seen him recently, check out this American treasure when he comes to town near you.


JTMP Blogger

2 thoughts on “John Prine Remembers His “Best Fan Ever” Mary Cahill”
  1. Thank you for sharing your reflections on what was truly a magical night for all of Mary’s family and friends who were there. Not only were we in the entire first row, we were all over the house that night! I agree that he is an American Treasure. He writes about the human condition with honesty, empathy, humor, and humanity. We can all see ourselves in at least one of his songs, which is why, I believe, all of his fans think of him as a friend. For me, the Prine song I hear that will always say Mary Cahill to me, is “You Got Gold.” Because she did have gold inside of her, just as John has gold inside him, too.

    1. Thank you Ann for a nice comment. Mary’s spirit there made the show personal, and Mary sounds like she does have gold inside her. I wished he had played that song! : )

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