Special Guests
Saturday, January 9, 1999

Greg Brown's 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 a while 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 more than a dozen 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. One Big Town, recorded in 1989, earned Brown three and a half stars in Rolling Stone, chart-topping status in AAA and The Gavin Report's Americana rankings and Brown's first Indie Award from NAIRD (National Association of Independent Record Distributors). The Poet Game, his 1994 CD, received another Indie award from NAIRD. His critically acclaimed 1996 release, Further In, was a finalist for the same award. Rolling Stone's four-star review of Further In called Brown "a wickedly sharp observer of the human condition." Brown's latest recording is Slant 6 Mind (Red House Records), which was just nominated for a Grammy. Joining Greg Brown tonight are singer/percussionist Karen Savoca and guitarist Peter Heitzman. The two met in the early '80s, and together they formed a band called The Mind's Eye. Their sound has been described as an elusive mix-melodic, funky, and spontaneous. Their latest CD, Sunday in Nandua, was co-produced by Tom "T-Bone" Wolk, and just two weeks after its release, it was named Record of the Year by The Syracuse Post Standard.

Yodeler Janet Sorenson farms sugar beets with her husband near Fisher, Minnesota (pop. 413), and took first place in A Prairie Home Companion's first-ever "Talent from Towns Under 2,000" (T-TUTT) competition in 1995. She learned to yodel as a child, practicing in an empty grain bin on the family farm. Sorenson has performed at state fairs and conventions, and has appeared with the Oak Ridge Boys on several occasions. A frequent performer at the Minot Norsk Hostfest in Minot, North Dakota, she is also an organist, piano teacher, and choir director, and plays clarinet and ukulele.

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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