Hopeful Gospel Quartet 2004 Summer Tour
Join the Quartet this summer for another set of traveling shows.

Hopeful Gospel Quartet to Tour for First Time in 5 Years

April 2, 2004

The Hopeful Gospel Quartet
[click to enlarge]
St. Paul, MN—This summer The Hopeful Gospel Quartet will tour for the first time since 1998. Playing along the West Coast, from June 20 to June 24, Garrison Keillor, Mollie O'Brien, and Robin and Linda Williams will perform both old favorites and new treasures.

The Hopefuls describe themselves simply: "The Hopeful Gospel Quartet began its career backstage at Prairie Home shows, when we stood waiting for the balloon to go up and sang to pass the time and found out that we all like gospel songs and that they sound wonderful in a stairwell. And at heart we are still a stairwell quartet, searching for the sound. Radio City had a great booming stairway, the Fox Theatre in St. Louis had a good one, and also the Flynn in Burlington, Vermont. Somewhere in backstage America, we feel, the Spirit had a stairway for us, with the exact perfect landing with the right plaster walls and just the right angles. When you sing in a great stairwell, it doesn't feel as if the music comes out of you as much as it comes through you, and that is the true gospel vision: to be an instrument. We're still looking, and we remain hopeful."

Linda Williams
For three decades now, Robin & Linda Williams have made it their mission to perform the music that they love, "a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism." Today some might call it "Americana," but these two revered music masters were living and breathing this elixir 20 years before that label was turned into a radio format.

Robin Williams
As live performers they are second to none. Their stirring concerts have earned them a huge body of fans over the years. But as gifted songwriters Robin and Linda have earned an even rarer honor, the devotion and deep respect of their musical peers. The list of artists who have covered their original songs include some of the greats of country music, names like Emmylou Harris, Tom T. Hall, George Hamilton IV, Tim & Mollie O'Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea and The Seldom Scene.

Having always sung gospel music, in the late 1980s they teamed up with their old friend and A Prairie Home Companion host Garrison Keillor to form The Hopeful Gospel Quartet. Together the ensemble has released two albums and toured the USA, British Isles and Europe.

Mollie O'Brien
Mollie O'Brien grew up in Wheeling, WV, sowed some oats in New York, NY, and has spent most of her adult life in Denver, CO. These three different places are mirrored in her repertoire and tonal palette. From Wheeling, we get the old-time country songs that she performs with her brother, Tim O'Brien, with a pureness of tone and a directness of feeling. From New York, come the jazz chestnuts and obscure R&B gems, along with a sassiness, strength and an improvisational ability that makes every performance unique. And from the once-wild west come pop and folk ballads and a feeling that anything is possible, that the skies are wide open and waiting for Mollie's voice to fill them.

Colorado has been home for her since 1980. First, she sang with a number of local jazz and R&B groups and then formed her own band which was voted best R&B band by Westwood Magazine in 1991 and 1992. Her second solo CD, Every Night In The Week was an Association For Independant Music Indie Awards finalist in 1992. With her brother Tim she released three duet albums to massive critical acclaim. Her first solo CD for Sugar Hill Records, Tell It True was in the top 10 of Gavin's Americana chart for six weeks and astounded her bluegrass fans and reacquainted her with R&B fans. She has appeared at every major acoustic music festival and venue in the United States and has toured Europe, the United Kingdon and South America.

Garrison Keillor
Garrison Keillor is the host of A Prairie Home Companion, carried on over 558 stations in the United States and heard each week by over 4 million listeners. He was born in 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota, and began his radio career as a freshman at the University of Minnesota, from which he graduated in 1966. He went to work for Minnesota Public Radio in 1969, and on July 6, 1974, he hosted the first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion in St. Paul. (The show ended in 1987, resumed in 1989 in New York as The American Radio Company, returned to Minnesota, and in 1993 resumed the name A Prairie Home Companion.) It is now heard each week by more than two million listeners on more than 430 public radio stations. Keillor hosts a daily five-minute radio program, The Writer's Almanac, is a frequent contributor to Time and The Atlantic Monthly, and the author of 13 books, including Lake Wobegon Days (1985), The Book of Guys (1993), and The Old Man Who Loved Cheese (1996). His newest book is Love Me (2003).

Keillor received a Grammy Award for his recording of Lake Wobegon Days; he received two ACE Awards for cable television and a George Foster Peabody Award. In 1994, he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame at Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications. With Philip Brunelle, he has performed with many orchestras, including the Chicago, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Dallas, and National symphonies; he has appeared at Wolf Trap, Carnegie Hall, and other major concert halls as a member of The Hopeful Gospel Quartet; and he has performed on his own in one-man shows across the country and in tour broadcasts of A Prairie Home Companion.

The Hopeful Gospel Quartet have released two albums: Climbing Up on the Rough Side, (1998, HighBridge) and Garrison Keillor & the Hopeful Gospel Quartet (1992, Sony Music Entertainment).

Tour Dates & Ticket Information

Saturday, June 19, 2004
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA—8:00 p.m.
Sunset Center Theatre
San Carlos Street, east side between 9th and 110th Avenues

Tickets on sale to public: May 3
Prices: $60.00
Box office:(831) 620-2040 or in person

Sunday, June 20, 2004
Saratoga, CA—7:30 p.m.
Montalvo Garden Theatre
15400 Montalvo Road

Tickets on sale to public: April 11
Prices: $47.00, $52.00, $62.00, $72.00, $82.00
Box office: www.villamontalvo.org or (408) 961-5858 (Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.)
Ticketmaster: www.ticketmaster.com or (408) 998-8497

Monday, June 21, 2004
Santa Rosa, CA—8:00 p.m.
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
Ruth Finley Person Theater
50 Mark West Springs Road

Tickets on sale to public: now
Prices: $45.00, $55.00, $65.00, $80.00
Box office: www.lbc.net, www.tickets.com, (707) 546-3600 (Tue.-Sat., 12-6 p.m.), or in person

Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Jacksonville, OR—7:30 p.m.
Britt Festivals Amphitheater

Tickets on sale to public: May 10. Tickets available now to members.
Prices: $34.00 lawn; $55.00, $58.00 reserved seating
Box office: www.brittfest.org, (800) 882-7488, (541) 773-6077, or in person at 216 West Main Street, Medford, OR.

Thursday, June 24, 2004
Portland, OR—8:00 p.m.
Portland Center for the Performing Arts
The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
1111 SW Broadway

Tickets on sale to public: April 26
Prices: $26.50, $37.25, $42.50
Box office: www.pcpa.com or in person (Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Ticketmaster: www.ticketmaster.com

Buy Hopeful Gospel Quartet CDs

Climbing Up on the Rough Side
(1998, HighBridge)

Garrison Keillor & the Hopeful Gospel Quartet
(1992, Sony Music Entertainment)

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

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