The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - JOE BREEN

For Bet­ter, Or Worse ★★★★ Oh Boy Records

John Prine can’t be ac­cused of rush­ing to cash in on the suc­cess of his clas­sic 1999 coun­try duets al­bum In Spite Of Our­selves. But though the in­ter­ven­ing years have been hard, this de­layed fol­low-up, re­leased on the eve of his 70th birth­day, oozes old coun­try char­ac­ter and gen­tle charm. Only two per­form­ers sur­vive from 1999 – his wife Fiona Prine (a touch­ing My Hap­pi­ness) and Iris DeMent, whose twangy in­ten­sity pairs per­fectly with Prine’s rough warmth, es­pe­cially on the vin­tage opener Who’s Gonna Put The Garbage Out? The new voices are a mix of sea­soned per­form­ers such as Lee Ann Wo­mack and Kathy Mat­tea and younger con­tenders Kacey Mus­graves and Amanda Shires. All are happy to join him as he reaches into coun­try’s lu­mi­nous past, where the ev­ery­day slings and ar­rows are ren­dered ex­cep­tional with a chuckle and a tear. john­

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