18 John Prine Quotes That Are as True Now as They Are Then

John Edward Prine, born October 10, 1946 and lived through April 7, 2020, was an American Singer-Songwriter of country folk music. John Prine left the world with more quotes of pure wisdom than we could ever realistically hope to get our hands on. He influenced singer-songwriters and musicians across numerous genres and generations. Prine was known for his iconic blend of notably humurous lyrics centered on love, life, and current events, as he was with his comments more so focused on social commentary and satire. He was an active and unforgettable composer that will echo into eternity as a legend from the early 1970s onwards.

1. On making yourself laugh

A person with graying hair is seen in close-up, standing behind a microphone. The background is dark and out of focus, emphasizing the individual's face and contemplative expression.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“If I can make myself laugh about something that I should be crying about, that’s pretty good.”

2. On guitar picking

A man and a woman are performing on stage, both singing into microphones. The man is playing a guitar. There are additional musicians in the background, including a man with a double bass. The woman has red hair and is wearing a dark outfit. The background is dimly lit.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“As far as guitar picking, if I make the same mistakes at the same time every day, people will start calling it a style.”

3. On songwriting

A person with gray hair and a mustache is singing into a microphone. The individual is wearing a dark suit and is performing on stage with a dark background and faint, out-of-focus lights behind them.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“I could never teach a class on songwriting. I’d tell them to goof off and find a good hideout.”

4. On not fitting in

A man with gray hair is singing into a microphone while playing an acoustic guitar. He is wearing a dark-colored suit. Behind him, the background is dark and blurred, possibly showing a nighttime cityscape.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“I don’t concern myself with where I fit in. I just keep my head down and keep doing whatever it is I’m going.”

5. On voices not blending

A person with gray hair is playing an acoustic guitar and singing into a microphone on a dimly lit stage. The background features blurry city lights. The person is wearing a dark suit and tie.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“Some voices don’t blend. They just kinda rub against each other.”

6. On empathy

An elderly man with gray hair sits holding an acoustic guitar. He is casually dressed in a black t-shirt and is outdoors against a backdrop of an old, weathered building. His expression appears thoughtful as he looks down at his guitar.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“In my songs, I try to look through someone else’s eyes, and I want to give the audience a feeling more than a message.”

7. On dedicated fans

An elderly man with white hair is sitting on a chair in a desolate, industrial setting, playing an acoustic guitar. He is dressed in black, and there is an empty chair with a red seat next to him. The ground is worn, with debris scattered around.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“Along the way, we have had some wonderful adventures and have met thousands of dedicated fans – indeed, many of them feel like family to us now.”

8. On the weekend persona

A trio of musicians performs in a cozy, cluttered room filled with shelves of books and various items. The front musician plays an acoustic guitar and sings, while the others play a double bass and another guitar. Microphones are set up in front of them.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“I’m kind of like the Lone Ranger or Batman. I can just go to my mansion and jump out in my uniform and sing on weekends.”

9. On Christmas trees

An older man with gray hair is playing an acoustic guitar. He is wearing a black t-shirt and a brown strap for the guitar. Behind him, shelves are filled with books and various items, and some string lights add a decorative touch.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“I don’t like to see Christmas trees torn down.”

10. On overreaching for a song

A small band performs in a cozy, cluttered room. A man with a double bass, another sings and plays an acoustic guitar, and the third musician watches while playing a guitar. The background is filled with books, musical equipment, and various knick-knacks.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“I think it shows when you have to work too hard on a song.”

11. On not being too serious

A man wearing a dark coat plays a guitar and sings into a microphone during a live performance. The background is dimly lit with a seated audience looking on attentively.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“When I’m writing a lyric, things can only get so serious before they start becoming humorous.”

12. On being told to work

A person with short hair is standing on a dimly lit stage, wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and black tie. They are in front of a microphone and looking intently ahead. Blurry audience members are visible in the background.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“If somebody tells me to work or exercise, I go the other way. I’ll come up with an excuse.”

13. On having a sense of humor

An older man with gray hair and sideburns is singing into a microphone. He is wearing a black suit and a tie. The background is dimly lit, with soft focus suggesting an indoor stage setting.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“My sense of humor has saved me more than a couple of times in my life.”

14. On new machines being invented

A man with gray hair, dressed in a black suit, is performing on stage while playing an acoustic guitar and singing into a microphone. The stage background is blue, and there is a double bass and other instruments visible in the dimly lit background.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“People keep inventing all these new machines, and producers and recording engineers keep wanting to use them.”

15. On embracing loneliness

A man with gray hair and a black suit sings into a microphone while strumming an acoustic guitar. He stands in front of a blue backdrop. A second person, holding an upright bass, is in the background, partially obscured.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“I embraced loneliness as a kid. I know what loneliness is. When you’re at the end of your rope. I never forget those feelings.”

16. On a proper sad song

A middle-aged person with grey hair performs on stage, holding a microphone close to their mouth. They are dressed in a dark-colored outfit, and the background is dark, emphasizing the person’s face and expression.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“I just like a good, sad song. The sadder, the better. It moves me.”

17. On truthful songwriting

A person with grayish hair appears to be performing on stage, holding an acoustic guitar. They look down with a slight smile. A microphone is visible in the foreground against a dark background.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“I try to write about things that actually happened so that I know it’s real before I put it down on paper.”

18. On starting a record company

A man with gray hair is playing an acoustic guitar and singing into a microphone on a stage. He is dressed in a black suit. There is a dark blue backdrop behind him and a table with red cups to his left. The stage lighting is low, focusing on the performer.
John Prine/Via YouTube.com

“People thought we were crazy for starting a record company. They really thought I was shooting myself in the foot.”

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