A Place I Used to Know
Memphis International Records
Billy Prine releases A Place I Used To Know on July 10 by Memphis International Records and is his first album release since 2013. It features two songs written by his legendary, late brother John Prine. Originally from Chicago and now living in Nashville, Billy’s new EP is chock full of his unique brand of American music – mixing blues, folk, and country into a stew of soulfulness.
Billy Prine grew up fronting rock and blues bar bands in Chicago and in the shadow of his older little brother. As a child of the sixties Billy traveled to California to be part of the music scene there. He hitchhiked through the heartland back to Chicago. He was one of the first bartenders at the famed Bluebird Cafe in Nashville when they reopened in the early 80’s. Billy Prine lived and breathed the music and the stories that would become the songs on A Place I Used To Know.
The album opens with the scorcher, “Young Man Old Man Blues” (William Prine / Crooked Road Songs, BMI). This is full on Rock -and- Roll.
The title song, “A Place I Used to Know” (Michael Dinallo & William Prine / Crooked Road Songs, BMI) is a rambling, shuffling, waltz. It’s got a string band feel but electric guitar gives it a swinging blues groove.
The album is dedicated to his brother John and the third song, “Paradise”
(John Prine / WB Music Corp. OBO Walden Music, ASCAP), is an easy addition. As brothers they likely have the same worn memories sitting in the backseat asking daddy to take them back to Muhlenberg county, down by the Green River to shoot at empty pop bottles.
The growling “I Mean I’m Mean” (Vic McAlpin & Glenn Douglas / Trails End Music Co.) is straight and to the point Blues.
“If You Don’t Want My Love”, (John Prine & Phil Spector / WB Music Corp. OBO Walden Music, ASCAP & Mother Bertha Music Inc., BMI), is a beautiful ballad. Watch the video recorded live at Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge in Madison, Tennessee. (The studio version on A Place I Used to Know features Keith Sykes on harmony vocals.). As a side note, this was one of the last shows I personally saw before the Covid-19 virus closed everything down. I can attest Billy Prine is the real deal Rock -and- Roller. See for yourself here. https://youtu.be/A9vV_9owZ2s That’s Michael Dinallo on guitar; Dave Jacques, who played in the John Prine band, on bass, and Justin Amaral is on drums. Chris Mitchell recorded, mixed, and mastered the sound at Dee’s and Nickelbug Music.
The final song on this EP is the up-tempo rollicking-rolling “Misery Train”
(Michael Dinallo / Crooked Road Songs, BMI), and is a true Nashville train song.
The album was created by some of Nashville’s coolest cats. Billy Prine on vocals, acoustic and electric guitar. Producer Michael Dinallo plays electric and acoustic guitar. Dave Jacques plays electric and acoustic bass. Tom Hambridge plays drums. Tim Carter provides harmony vocals, mandolin, banjo, and harmonica. Jim Gambino contributed Wurlitzer and B3. Keith Sykes, Juliet Simmons Dinallo, and Amber Casares provided harmony vocals.
Producer Michael Dinallo is a world-class producer who recently produced the star-studded tribute, also on Memphis International Records, called “Feel Like Going Home: The Songs Of Charlie Rich”. “A Place I Used To Know” was recorded and mixed by Tim Carter at The Treehouse, Ridgetop, Tennessee. Full band basic tracks were recorded by Sean Sullivan at The Butcher Shoppe in Nashville, Tennessee. Wurlitzer and B3 was recorded by Sean McLaughlin at 37’ Productions in Rockland, Massachusetts. Dave Harris mastered the album at Studio B Mastering in Charlotte, North Carolina. Executive Producers: Douglas Hudson and Jonathan E. Mitchell
Photography: Jim Shea
Billy Prine isn’t his brother, nor does he try to be. His voice is deeper and edgier. His music perhaps rocks a bit harder. His songs are perhaps a bit darker. But the sibling resemblance is undeniable. You’ll catch it in the phrasing or in his accent, or in the dedication to craft. This is a Billy Prine record, and as Billy states, “This is the record I’ve wanted to make for five years. Hell yeah, we got a hot one here!” I agree.
“This record is dedicated to my late brother John Prine, 1946-2020. All the best to The Best, Love you, Brother.” BP