In 1981, John Prine and his manager launched their own record label to directly serve Prine’s fans. Forty years later, Oh Boy Records is still in business, carrying on the musical legacy of Prine, who died last year due to Covid-19, and the artists he inspired.
Oh Boy Records marks its anniversary in 2021 with a series of new projects, including a centerpiece documentary about the label’s origin and history. Via candid archival footage, Prine himself appears in the trailer for the film, talking about how he came up with the name. “When things are going really good, I can just go, ‘Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, what a year we had!’ and when things ain’t so good, you go, ‘Oh boy…,” he said.
Other subjects interviewed for the film include Todd Snider, who released albums on Oh Boy Records; Prine’s widow and president of the label, Fiona Whelan Prine; and Al Bunetta, Prine’s co-founder in Oh Boy. The documentary is planned to premiere as a series of mini-films on the label’s YouTube channel.
Along with the movie project, Oh Boy Records — home to artists like Arlo McKinley and Kelsey Waldon — will release an anniversary edition of Prine’s self-titled 1971 debut LP, which turns 50 this year. There are also plans for a Prine 7-inch box set, a vinyl release of 2005’s Fair & Square LP, and curated playlists and pop-up events in the label’s home base of Nashville.