PEOPLE IN THEIR TWENTIES: TALENT FINALISTS

Over 740 entries flooded in from all over the country, and we gathered together in our basement to listen to them all, with new pens and big cups of coffee. The acts we've selected are incredible, and we can't wait for you to meet them. Here's who we'll have with us:

Daisy May Erlewine and Seth Bernard, an acoustic duo from Big Rapids, Michigan, have been traveling and performing for most of their lives. Daisy May is from a musical family, and learned to sing and play piano at an early age. Her acoustic guitar is seldom far from her side. She was home-schooled and paid her singer-songwriter dues in her late teens with several years of hitchhiking back and forth across the U.S., even riding freight trains. She has recorded four CDs and works a variety of venues coast to coast, focusing on the Midwest and her home state of Michigan. Seth was born and raised on Earthwork Farm in Northern Michigan, surrounded by gardens, goats, hippies, rednecks and stringed instruments. His teenage years brought in influences of counter culture and pop culture, including mystic poetry, stand-up comedy, sixties music, professional sports and theater. This lead to Seth traveling around as a storyteller, point guard, sax player and singer/guitar player in bands with names like Freesoil and King Lear and the Gothic Monks. He recorded his first album at his guitar teacher's home studio in 2000. In 2006, Daisy May and Seth released their first duo album, Seth Bernard & Daisy May (Earthworks).

Daisy May Erlewine and Seth Bernard's Myspace page

Andy and Richard Karg are a harmony-driven singing duo with country roots. Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, the brothers cite a strong family bond as their inspiration. The kids grew up watching their father, Dick Karg, write songs, play piano late into the evening and work the Nashville music scene. Andy performed in plays and church choirs at a very young age and spent a summer singing at the former Opryland theme park. Both boys played baseball growing up and Rich even earned a scholarship for a college team in Pennsylvania. After a year of college ball he was drawn back home to pursue music. In 2002 the brothers enrolled at Middle Tennessee State University together and began writing, singing, and performing together as The Karg Boys. They're off to a good start since they just signed a publishing/artist development deal with Universal, allowing them to collaborate with some of Nashville's top songwriters.

Karg Boys' Myspace page

Jaryd Lane, a Louisiana native, based out of Kaplan, features a style rooted in acoustic country and blues. His first album, Country Boy Sessions, made him the top-selling local artist at the Lafayette Barnes & Noble last year. He is also the number one most requested local artist on Lafayette's 99.1 KXKC FM radio and was featured in the radio station's top 100 songs of 2006. Inspired by artists ranging from James Taylor to Merle Haggard, Jaryd creates songs about love, sin, God, and family with lyrics that speak to everyday people about everyday life. With his new CD, Riding For The Brand, he has his eye on Nashville and hopes to score a major record deal.

Jaryd Lane's Web site

Chris O'Brien, from Somerville, Massachusetts, picked up the guitar after he saw Shawn Colvin and the Indigo Girls in concert when he was twelve. He continued to study the instrument around campfires at the Rowe Center, a summer camp in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. Struck by his passion to learn the guitar, family friend Dar Williams taught him to play his first chords. By age 14 he was writing his own material. Chris spent a few years in Oregon, and then traveled home to Massachusetts, regularly gigging at The Iron Horse in Northampton for open-mic shows. He later moved to Cambridge where Bay State Sound featured him on their compilation CD, Boston's Best Singer-Songwriter Showcase, Vol. 4. He just released his debut CD called Lighthouse. Joining Chris onstage for the show are Charlie Rose (bass) and Lyle Brewer (guitar).

Chris O'Brien's Web site

The Powder Kegs are an old-time string band from Burlington, Vermont on a mission to re-energize the communication lines between the new generation and its roots. Sam McDougle (fiddle), Dan Maroti (guitar and vocals) and Ryan Dieringer (bass and vocals) first played together in a bluegrass band in high school; when Sam went off to college at Vassar, he met Jake Hoffman (banjo and vocals) and Peter Winne (slide guitar, harmonica, vocals). They formed The Powder Kegs in the winter of 2005, and headed to Burlington the following summer where they worked on a farm for room and board and performed at bars, clubs, even on the street. Last winter, they released their first full-length album, The Seedhouse. After a street performing tour of the East coast in June, the Kegs settle into permanent residence in the Hudson Valley of New York.

The Powder Kegs Web site

The Sweetback Sisters, from Brooklyn, New York, play an array of traditional old time and honky-tonk music reminiscent of the 1940's and 50's. Zara Bode (vocals and guitar) and Emily Miller (vocals, guitar and fiddle) met a few years ago on a choir tour of Europe, where they sang American shape note music and traditional Georgian and Bulgarian harmonies. They formed a singing duo when they got back to the States and based themselves out of Brooklyn. In the summer of 2006, they convinced some musician friends to back them up, and now they all routinely play together at coffeehouse gigs and clubs. Rounding out the Sweetback Sisters is Ross Bellenoit (electric guitar and lap steel), Jesse Milnes (fiddle and guitar), Amanda Kowalski (bass) and Stefan Amidon (drums). They've already been on a few short tours and recorded one six song EP titled Bang!

Sweetback Sisters' Myspace page

Talent Show winners

Congratulations to all our talent show finalists. They proved their mettle as fantastic musicians and as good sports by playing parts in the Guy Noir script.

1st place: The Powder Kegs from Burlington, VT

2nd place: The Sweetback Sisters from Brooklyn, NY

3rd Place: Daisy May Erlewine and Seth Bernard from Big Rapids, MI

Ray Marklund Award: The Karg Boys from Nashville, TN


Voting

Here's the rundown on how the online voting will work:

The show will begin at 5 pm, as usual. You'll see listen links and voting information on the homepage.

Throughout the first hour of the show, all six contestants will have a chance to perform.

After all the acts have had a chance to perform (probably around 6 p.m.) we'll add a direct link to the voting form to the homepage at www.prairiehome.org. You will have to refresh your browser page to see the link.

At that point you should go ahead and place your vote for the act you like best. If you can't get to the page right away, it's OK. Votes will be accepted until 6:30 p.m.

Some things to remember
  • Blank votes will not be tallied.

  • Only one vote per computer.

  • Online votes will be added to votes by the audience at the Fitzgerald Theater.



Talent Show Archive

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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