The Woodland Park Zoo kicks off its annual summer concert series, ZooTunes, Sunday with folk legend John Prine taking the stage.
Prine, a veteran songwriter with a deft touch and keen ear for the rhythms of everyday life, released his 21st album, “The Singing Mailman Delivers,” in 2011. The double-album peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard U.S. Folk charts, and features Prine at his most stripped down.
Most of that record’s songs are just Prine singing his subtle tales over the strumming of a lone guitar, which gives the album a simple, haunting quality. He’s penned a number of great tunes over his decades-long career, but “Mailman” proves he’s still got plenty left in the tank. Standouts include “Illegal Smile” and the funny “The Frying Pan.”
Opening for Prine on Sunday will be Dustin Bentall and Kendel Carson, a charming folk duo who also happen to be a couple. Like the best music couples, their voices play well off each other and Carson’s fiddle adds a much-needed dynamism to the low-key arrangements. They’re worth showing up early to hear.
In a something-for-everyone grab bag of performers rolling through the zoo this summer, Prine will be followed in coming weeks by artists such as LeAnn Rimes (July 26) and Loreena McKennitt (Aug. 15).
If you’re interested in attending Zoo Tunes show, buy your tickets now. Shows are already starting to sell out.
John Prine, Dustin Bentall and Kendel Carson
5 p.m., Thursday at Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N 59th St., Seattle; $32.50 (206-548-2500 or zoo.org/zootunes).
-Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails