If you’ve ever worked in a fly shop, you’ll know that a good soundtrack makes the time go by a little easier in between customers, when restocking the fly bins and folding t-shirts is the order of busines. At Big Sky Anglers, we believe that great music leads to the best days. Stroll into our shop on most days and you’ll get a flavor of whichever one of the our shop staff is spinning tunes. You can find Miles listening to early 90K’s hip hop, Michael listening to modern country, or Patrick listening to indie gems. But regardless of who was picking the tunes, there is one artist who is almost a constant from everyone – Mr. John Prine.
Shop owner Joe Moore takes the cake as the one who listens to John Prine the most. If it were up to Joe, John Prine would probably be the exclusive soundtrack to the shop. I’d say John Prine and James McMurtry would make up 75% of Joe’s soundtrack. But it’s for a damn good reason. If John Prine wasn’t one of the best songwriters of all time, he very well could’ve been a fishing guide. His way of being able to relate to the most common man was beautiful and relatable. None of us working at Big Sky Anglers will ever be known as being one of the best songwriters ever, and, to my knowledge, John Prine wasn’t a fishing guide, but boy he could make us believe he was, just by singing and playing us a tune. This stands true most on his song, “Fish and Whistle”
“Father forgive us for what we must do
You’ll forgive us and we’ll forgive you
We’ll forgive each other ‘till we both turn blue
And we’ll whistle and go fishing in the heavens”
John Prine has such a permanent place in drift boats and fishing rigs across this country, it’s crazy to think about. I can’t recall how many times I’ve had to say “That’s John Prine!” inside the fly shop when someone asks what song is playing. He was a songwriter who got to the deepest part of everyone being human. You can be a Vietnam vet or a woman distressed with her decaying marriage, a 20-something fishing bum or a Wall Street executive – you can somehow relate to Uncle John.
Or, like me, you understand that everyone has a point of view that, when written and sung about in a perfect manner, will make a lasting impact on so many more people than you think.
The fishing community thanks Mr. Prine. And as humans living this every day life, we should all thank Mr. Prine for helping us through it all. You may be gone physically, but you will live on forever in our hearts, and through your most generous gift to us all – your music.