Special Guests
Saturday, October 18, 1997

The Del McCoury Band is led by Del McCoury, who's been playing bluegrass for more than four decades. McCoury spent most of his youth in York County, Pennsylvania, and learned music from his mother Hazel, a church organist who also played guitar, piano, and harmonica. In his teenage years, he and his older brother played together in a church quartet. That led Del to a job picking banjo for a local bluegrass band that played on a Pennsylvania radio station, which led to appearances in the late '50s and early '60s with groups like the Blue Ridge Ramblers and the Virginia Playboys. It wasn't long before he met Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass, who asked McCoury to play in his band, The Blue Grass Boys. McCoury played guitar and sang lead vocals with The Blue Grass Boys and traveled with them for a year before quitting the band and getting married. McCoury ended up back in Pennsylvania, working at a sawmill and playing music on weekends. As his boys got older, they began playing with their dad in his band. Ronnie joined the band in 1981 and Rob followed in 1987. In the early '90s, this five-person band was formed. The same group has been playing together ever since: Del McCoury (guitar), Ronnie McCoury (mandolin), Rob McCoury (banjo), Mike Bub (bass), and Jason Carter (fiddle). The Del McCoury Band was named Entertainers of the Year in 1994 by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), which made history in 1996 by nominating each one of the five band members for individual awards. Their latest recording is Grammy-nominated The Cold Hard Facts (Rounder Records).

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. Earlier this year, Rhino Records 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 (BMG/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).

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