Special Guests
Saturday, January 18, 1997

Greg Brown's prolific and seasoned songwriting is based on an unusual combination of wanderlust and downhome roots. His mother played electric guitar, his grandfather played banjo, and his father was a Holy Roller preacher in the Hacklebarney section of Iowa where the Gospel and music are a way of life. Brown's first professional singing job came at age 18 in New York City, running hootenannies (folksinger get-togethers) at the legendary Gerdes Folk City. After a year, Brown moved west to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, where he was a ghostwriter for Buck Ram, founder of the Platters. Tired of the fast-paced life, Brown traveled with a band for a few years, and even quit playing for awhile before he moved back to Iowa and began writing songs and playing in midwestern clubs and coffeehouses. Brown's songwriting has been lauded by many, and his songs have been performed by Willie Nelson, Carlos Santana, Michael Johnson, Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter. He has also recorded 10 albums, including his 1986 release, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, when he put aside his own songwriting to set poems of William Blake to music. Brown's most current recording is Further In, on Red House Records. Performing with Brown tonight is slide guitarist Kelly Joe Phelps, a Seattle native who played and taught jazz for years before moving toward country blues. His debut CD is the critically acclaimed Lead Me On (Burnside Records).

Kate MacKenzie has been a favorite guest of A Prairie Home Companion since 1981. For many years, she was lead singer of Stoney Lonesome, with whom she recorded six bluegrass albums, toured Japan and North America, and was featured in the public television series, Showcase. With the Hopeful Gospel Quartet, MacKenzie has recorded a live album from Carnegie Hall, performed at folk festivals in Scotland and Denmark, and performed on PBS' Austin City Limits. Her work with A Prairie Home Companion has included coast-to-coast tours, farewell and reunion shows, 20 Disney Channel television broadcasts, the 1993 Book of Guys tour, and a recurring dramatic role as Sheila, the Christian Jungle girl (wild, yet pure). Her first solo album, Let Them Talk (Red House Records), was on the National Bluegrass Charts for 10 months. A new album, Age of Innocence (Red House), was released last fall. MacKenzie's success was noted in The New York Times, which grouped MacKenzie in "the new wave of strong female voices." Performing with MacKenzie tonight are: Nick Forster (guitar), Helen Forster (vocals), Tony Furtado (banjo), Chris Silver (mandolin), and Greg Hippen (bass).

 

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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