Special Guests
Saturday, May 24, 1997

Iris DeMent was born in Paragould, Arkansas, the last of 14 children in her family. Her parents were farmers, but in 1964, after hitting hard times, they sold out and moved west to California. DeMent's parents passed on to her their love of music: Her mom sang around the house and at church, and as a young man her dad had played fiddle at dances around Arkansas. Her older sisters formed a gospel group called The DeMent Sisters and eventually recorded an album. Iris DeMent began writing songs at 25, and while living in Kansas City, she taught herself to play the guitar. Her songs draw directly upon her own life and the people within it. She says of her parents: "They have been the most important people in my life. I probably care about music the way I do because of them." Eventually, DeMent moved to Nashville, where her performances led to a recording contract with Rounder/Philo Records. In 1993, DeMent moved to Kansas City, Missouri. That same year, DeMent's first Philo album, Infamous Angel, was re-released by Warner Bros. Records. DeMent teamed up with producer Randy Scruggs for her most recent recording, The Way I Should (Warner Records), which features guest appearances by Mark Knopfler, Delbert McClinton, and banjo great Earl Scruggs. Appearing with DeMent tonight is her band, the Troublemakers, including Richard McLaurin (guitar) and Don Johnson (bass).

Born in Athens, Georgia, Leo Kottke taught himself to play the guitar after learning theory and harmony from trombone lessons. In 1969, his album 6 and 12 String Guitar was released on John Fahey's independent label, Takoma Records. (The recording has now been re-issued on Rhino Records.) Praised by Rolling Stone and other media across the nation, 6 and 12 String Guitar became a favorite on progressive radio stations. Kottke began touring extensively and has, over the years, played with a wide range of musicians: Lyle Lovett, the late jazz virtuoso Joe Pass, the Violent Femmes, John Gorka, Paco Pena, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, and others. While Kottke's performances and fingerpicking style have become legendary, Kottke's compositions have become standards in their own right: the University of Wisconsin includes his music in their Guitar Studies coursework. He has collaborated on a suite for guitar and orchestra, written and performed music for the BBC's documentary on Raymond Carver, and guided the production of Taylor Guitars' 12-string "Leo Kottke" model. Rhino Records has just released The Leo Kottke Anthology, a double-CD compilation of work recorded by Kottke on the Capitol, Chrysalis and Private labels. His newest recording is Standing in My Shoes (Private Music).

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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