By: Jeff Walter, Editor

You know that old trees just grow stronger
And old rivers grow wilder every day
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, “Hello in there, hello”
— John Prine, “Hello in There”

Like countless Nashvillians and music lovers (we happen to be both), we mourned the loss of singer-songwriter John Prine to COVID-19 on April 7, 2020. Prine, also a Music City resident, released his self-titled debut album a half-century ago in 1971, gracing the world with such now-standards as “Sam Stone,” “Angel From Montgomery,” “Paradise” and “Hello in There,” that last song an unflinching first-person depiction of the loneliness suffered by many senior citizens (written with jaw-dropping empathy by a 22-year-old).

We think Prine would be happy about the way his family is remembering him—and doing some good in the process. “You Got Gold: Celebrating the Life & Songs of John Prine” is a series of special concerts and other events planned for various Nashville venues Oct. 3-10. Proceeds will benefit The Hello In There Foundation, newly established by Prine’s family “to honor his memory and continue the love, kindness and generosity he shared with the world.” The foundation’s mission is “to identify and collaborate with individuals and communities to offer support for people who are marginalized, discriminated against or … otherwise forgotten.”

Two Nashville-based nonprofits will receive this year’s inaugural grants from the foundation. Room In The Inn provides shelter, emergency services, transitional programs and long-term solutions to help homeless people rebuild their lives. Thistle Farms provides safe housing, healthcare, counseling and employment for women survivors of trafficking, prostitution and addiction.

The Prine tribute concerts, which wrap up on what would have been his 75th birthday, represent a beautiful example of content marketing, a frequent topic of the Idea Email. While they honor the memory of the beloved singer-songwriter (and perhaps sell some CDs and merch in the process), they also serve a higher purpose not directly tied to sales. 

We have previously written about the various forms that content marketing can take—from blog posts and e-books to sales presentations and customer welcome kits, from onboarding material and internal letters to employees to bylined articles for industry publications and public events. Earlier this month, we discussed preserving your company’s or organization’s history and future. Thanks to the Prine family for an outstanding example of how this can work. And thanks to John Prine for all the timeless and wonderful music (along with the love, kindness and generosity).

Photo credit: Laura Fedele

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