Personnel includes: John Prine (vocals, acoustic guitar); Iris DeMent, Connie Smith, Lucinda Williams, Trisha Yearwood, Melba Montgomery, Emmylou Harris, Dolores Keane, Patty Loveless, Fiona Prine (vocals); Jason Wilber (acoustic & electric guitars, background vocals); Jim Rooney (acoustic guitar, background vocals); Marty Stuart (acoustic guitar); Dan Dugmore (pedal steel guitar, dobro); Sam Bush (mandolin, fiddle); Phil Parlapiano (mandolin, accordion, piano, Hammond B-3 organ, Wurlitzer piano); Shawn Camp (fiddle, background vocals); Glen D. Hardin (piano, keyboards, background vocals); David Jacques (acoustic bass, background vocals); Pat McInerney (drums, percussion, background vocals); Kenny Malone (drums); Duke Duczer (background vocals).
Producers: Jim Rooney, John Prine, Marty Stuart.
Principally recorded at Jack's Tracks and MCA Publishing Studio, Nashville, Tennessee. Includes liner notes by John Prine and Jim Rooney.
All tracks have been digitally mastered using HDCD technology.
IN SPITE OF OURSELVES was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
John Prine's first post-neck cancer studio album finds him duetting on a slew of country classics and rustic obscurities with some high-caliber talent. Throughout IN SPITE OF OURSELVES, the main theme bounces between lovin' and cheatin' in different circumstances, be it swapping spouses ("Let's Invite Them Over," with Iris DeMent) or being discreet in a small town ("In a Town This Size," with Dolores Keane). Backed by crying pedal steel, mournful dobros, and rippling piano, Prine makes the kind of classic country that was pouring out of Nashville in the late '60s and early '70s.
Prine's laconic singing style meshes perfectly with such contemporary country superstars as Trisha Yearwood (Roger Miller's "When Two Worlds Collide") and Patty Loveless (Webb Pierce's "Back Street Affair"). Other notable partners included Lucinda Williams ("Wedding Bells/Let's Turn Back the Years"), Melba Montgomery ("We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds" and "Milwaukee Here I Come"), and Emmylou Harris ("I Know One"). Of all these notable vocalists, Iris DeMent turns out to be Prine's perfect partner. With her Carter Family-inflected twang, DeMent fits hand-in-glove with Prine's relaxed delivery, particularly on the George Jones/Tammy Wynette nugget, "(We're Not) The Jet Set."
Spin (1/00, p.127) - 9 out of 10 - "...daydream believin' and goofy good times....an easy-flowing intimacy perfectly fitting the most lovably fun folkie since Bragg-Wilco's Woody Guthrie."
Entertainment Weekly (9/17/99, pp.80-1) - "...a character with enough self-depreciating charm to pull off just about anything. Trisha Yearwood, Emmylou Harris, Iris Dement, and five others share 16 songs with Prine...and it works splendidly..." - Rating: B+
Q (1/00, p.122) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Prine has chosen the most throat-lumpin' country tunes ever written, and treated them with the simplerespect and emotional honesty they deserve. If Hank Williams was still alive he'd buy this one and cry into his beer."
Dirty Linen (2-3/00, pp.74-5) - "...vintage country weepers recorded as duets with some of the most expressive of the current crop of country singers....This is a fun CD that shows that Prine can salute his musical lineage with both authenticity and tongue firmly in cheek."
Mojo (Publisher) (12/99, p.116) - "...reveals himself as an outstanding singer in the George Jones mould and the selection of duets is astute enough to offer honest charm and genuine sentiment without any of the sickly overkill of clichT....refreshingly natural."