Special Guests
Saturday, December 9, 2000


EmmyLou Harris

EMMYLOU HARRIS was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and grew up in North Carolina and Virginia. She began playing the guitar at sixteen, and eventually left college to pursue a career in music. After recording her first album in 1969, Harris joined forces with Gram Parsons, with whom she made two albums, GP and Grievous Angel. After Parsons’ death in 1973, Harris formed her own band and signed with Warner Bros. Records. She began making albums that encompassed her own vision of what country music ought to be, the first of which was Pieces of the Sky. The success of Pieces enabled Harris to continue writing songs that stood apart from much of the music coming out of Nashville in the late 1970s. By the mid-’80s, Harris had formed her famous Hot Band and had made several albums, including Elite Hotel. A serious bronchial infection led to an abrupt change in the direction of her career. No longer willing to sing over electric instruments, she broke up the Hot Band and created the acoustic Nash Ramblers. Their first album, was the Grammy Award-winning At the Ryman. Its mix of rock, country, traditional, and bluegrass elements is typical of Harris’ eclecticism. Her latest album is Red Dirt Girl (Nonesuch Records).


Johnny Cunningham and Susan McKeown

Scottish fiddler JOHNNY CUNNINGHAM and Irish singer SUSAN MCKEOWN began working together eight years ago during the Mabou Mines’ award-winning play, Peter & Wendy. Cunningham wrote and composed the score, having already selected McKeown to be the vocalist. They have since toured the U.S. together, performing traditional songs from Ireland and Scotland, as well as the music from Peter & Wendy, which was released as a CD by Alula Records in 1997. Cunningham is a founding member of the Celtic band Silly Wizard, and has toured with his brother Phil, both as a duo and with the group Relativity. In addition to his solo career, he has appeared with Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Don Henley, and Warren Zevon, and spent four years as part Nightnoise. Cunningham has also become a popular record producer, working with artist such as Solas and Cherish the Ladies. McKeown has performed with Sinead O’Connor, Mary Margaret O’Hara, and Natalie Merchant, and has appeared on the public radio programs All Things Considered, New Sounds, World Café, and Mountain Stage, as well as on television’s CBS Sunday Morning and PBS’ Sessions at West 54th. She tours regularly with her band, The Chanting House, and earlier this year released Lowlands (Green Linnet Records), an album of traditional music. Cunningham and McKeown are joined tonight by Aidan Brennan on guitar.

Tonight’s performers from THE new YORK REVELS are David Jones, the Strand Singers and the Greenwich Morris Men. Members of a local chapter of Revels, Inc., they participate in productions that preserve and share songs, dances, myths and dramatic vignettes that have evolved over many centuries to ward off the individual’s fear of isolation and to celebrate humanity’s common bonds. Traditions presented to date have come from Appalachia, Western Europe, and the Baltic region. A typical Revels cast consists of professionals, student performers and adult amateurs. The interactive nature of much of the Revels material encourages rapport between the cast and spectators and has made the NYR winter solstice production a part of New York’s family holiday ritual. They will perform at Symphony Space in New York City tonight and twice tomorrow.

CHERYL STUDER joins us directly from the Metropolitan Opera, where she can be heard in Der Rosenkavalier. A native of Midland, Michigan, she began pursuing an operatic career at the age of twelve. She has since sung more than 70 roles with companies around the world, and regularly performs as a concert soloist.

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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