Special Guests
Saturday, January 16, 1999

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 media across the nation, 6 and 12 String Guitar became a favorite on progressive radio stations. Kottke began touring extensively and, over the years, has played with a wide range of musicians, including Lyle Lovett, the late jazz virtuoso Joe Pass, the Violent Femmes, John Gorka, Paco Pena, and Big Head Todd & the Monsters. 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. In 1997, 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).

Sandra Reaves-Phillips was born in Mullins, South Carolina, where she worked in the field with her grandmother, sang in church, and entered local talent contests. When she made her way to New York City, her performances in small clubs led to a contract with Epic Records and appearances off-Broadway. Her big break came when she was cast as "Mama Younger" in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Raisin. She has been seen off-Broadway in the original production of Blues in the Night, Sparrow in Flight, Basin Street, Stompin' at the Savoy, and Opening Night, which she co-authored. Her film credits include 'Round Midnight and Lean on Me. Reaves-Phillips made her Carnegie Hall debut in Cavalcade of Stars, and tours frequently in the shows she created, Bold & Brassy Blues and The Late Great Ladies of Blues and Jazz, in which she portrays six legendary women in the jazz, blues and gospel fields. She is currently in rehearsal for Rollin' on the T.O.B.A., which is scheduled to open off-Broadway on January 28.

Butch Thompson is well-remembered for his 12-year run as the house pianist on A Prairie Home Companion, dating back to the show's second broadcast in July 1974. In 1978, The Butch Thompson Trio was formed and remained the house band until 1986. As a soloist, Thompson has long been regarded as a leading traditional jazz musician. More recently, he has put together an eight-piece group called the New Orleans Jazz Originals, which will perform a concert at the Fitzgerald Theater on Saturday, February 13. Thompson's interest in jazz began during his childhood in Marine-on-St. Croix, Minnesota, where he discovered the piano at age three. As a teenager, he led his first band (Shirt Thompson and his Sleeves), and played his first professional engagements on both piano and clarinet. In 1962, he joined the Hall Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band on clarinet and began a series of pilgrimages to New Orleans, where he studied with clarinetist George Lewis and became one of the few non-Orleanians to guest occasionally at Preservation Hall. Thompson's first recording, Butch Thompson Plays Jelly Roll Morton Piano Solos, has been re-issued as a Biograph CD, and he recently released the ninth CD in his acclaimed solo series, Thompson Plays Joplin (on Daring/Rounder Records).

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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