When John recorded the song in Memphis, it was also a moving experience, said Billy. The original violin part was recorded by a Memphis Symphony violinist who “had no feeling for it,” he said.
Then, when John played the tape for their father, he suggested that John’s brother, Dave, play the violin. “They took Dave to a studio in Chicago and they dubbed him. And the rest is history,” Billy said.
Of the four brothers, Billy and Dave remain. Dave lives outside of Chicago and is almost 84 years old. Doug, the only brother Prine who didn’t do music, died in 2012.
At 12, Billy was playing in Chicago-area bands. He played music in Northern California as a youth, but moved to Nashville in the early 1990s to continue his music career and join the John’s Oh Boy label, where he worked for nine years.
Family of musicians
Billy took the name of his new band, Prine Time, from a monthly podcast he co-hosts, in which he interviews musicians and other artists. Last year he performed on Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, and in July he spoke to Bob Weir about the Grateful Dead.
John had two sons with Whelan, Jack and Tommy. John also adopted Whelan’s son Jody from a previous relationship.
Billy said Jody doesn’t play an instrument, but now runs the Oh Boy label. Tommy plays guitar and sings and has performed in clubs on the road.