John Prine & Iris Dement

My folk music club friend and I found ourselves in the last row of seats in the gorgeous Kings Theater in Brooklyn on April 8th — a Friday evening. This is a venue in the grand tradition of old movie houses. There is literally not a bad seat in the house. The strangely beautiful voice of Iris Dement soothing us after a busy week of work. We knew John Prine was somewhere in the wings, waiting to take the stage later that evening. We felt so lucky to be there, and the place was packed. The thing is this: we very nearly missed this concert. Let me back up to April 3 — a Sunday afternoon. This same friend and I were happily seated at the The Old Stone House in Park Slope, listening to a beloved local group called Triboro (consisting of Evy Mayer, Don Friedman, and Phyllis Elkind.) We know them from the Folk Music Society of New York (FMSNY) — our folk music club. We also regularly attend the Good Coffee House Music Series (of which this concert was a part), lovingly put together by the terrific musicians, Frank and Nancy Moccaldi (and co-hosted by FMSNY). At some point during a break, one of the musicians mentioned that John Prine was playing in Brooklyn in less than a week. We jumped on the chance to see him so close to home. Boy was it worth the cost of the tickets. I had once seen him at the Tarrytown Music Hall, but this concert in Brooklyn was special. He was in rare form: telling stories and singing all our cherished favorites like Paradise (many of which we sing in our monthly open folk sing at Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture — another FMSNY club event to which you are welcome to attend, held the first Wednesday of every month.) Indeed, the whole audience sang along, creating one big happy community. The power of song. It never fails to amaze me how music can bring people together.

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