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All Songs +1: John Paul White Sings The Song That Changed His Life

Bob Boilen talks with John Paul White during AmericanaFest 2016.
Bob Boilen talks with John Paul White during AmericanaFest 2016.

This past week I was at the 17th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference in Nashville, listening to and having conversations with musicians. One songwriter and singer I've admired from the world of Americana during this decade is John Paul White, whom you may know as a former member of the duo The Civil Wars. White's new solo album, Beulah, came out in August, and it's a quiet, poignant work.

Over the past few years I've been talking with musicians about a song that changed them, a song that perhaps inspired them to pick up a guitar or write a song of their own. I put out a book called Your Song Changed My Life, which examines those pivotal moments for 35 musicians, and while at AmericanaFest I had a chance to talk to White about his song, his moment of discovery in music. We had that conversation in front of a few hundred people in the Country Music Hall of Fame's Ford Theater.

The conversation was one of the most thoughtful ones I've had on the subject. Frankly, it ended in tears for me — and many in the audience — when White performed John Prine's seminal anti-war song "Sam Stone."

On this week's All Songs Considered +1 podcast, hear a conversation and performance from John Paul White.

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