When I’m asked to name my favorite artists, Conor Oberst is consistently mentioned in the top three. Ever since I heard “Lover I Don’t Have to Love” 12 years ago, I was an instant fan. As I started delving further into the Nebraskan singer-songwriter’s catalog – whether as part of Bright Eyes, Commander Venus, the Faint, Desaparecidos, Monsters of Folk or under his own name – I became even more taken with his lyrical genius, ability to create melodies that could pull at your heartstrings, get you dancing or shouting out choruses word for word along with him. Not to mention the plethora of great acts (Cursive, Two Gallants and Tokyo Police Club to name just a few) he has exposed the world to through the Saddle Creek label he co-founded in 1993 – at the age of 13.
As much as I listen to his recorded material over and over, there is no comparison to hearing the tracks performed live. Oberst just released his latest album, Upside Down Mountain, in May, so I’m quite excited to specifically experience this new set of songs in my most beloved L.A. venue, the Greek Theatre, Oct. 5.
What’s more, one of the most influential folk artists ever – who also happens to be a musical hero of Oberst’s as well as the likes of Bob Dylan and Roger Waters – is co-headlining the show. If you don’t immediately recognize the name John Prine, one of his tunes will undoubtedly ring a bell as they have been recorded by everyone from Johnny Cash and Bonnie Raitt to Kris Kristofferson and Carly Simon. Whether they’re politically charged (“Sam Stone”), humorous (“In Spite of Ourselves”) or a bit melancholy (“Angel from Montgomery”), Prine’s songs are essential to any conversation about American folk music.
What: John Prine and Conor Oberst
Where: The Greek Theatre, 2700 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles 90027
When: Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 at 7 p.m.
Contact: (800) 745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com