Special Guests
Saturday, May 5, 2001


Mollie O'Brien

MOLLIE O’BRIEN grew up in Wheeling, West Virginia, where she and her brother Tim were the youngest children in a large Irish Catholic family. As teens, the two sang covers of Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, and Peter, Paul & Mary at folk masses, ski lodges, and local coffeehouses. After two years of college, O’Brien moved to New York to become a musical-comedy star on Broadway. Instead, she became bogged down in day jobs until friends changed her life by introducing her to the music of the Boswell Sisters and Cab Calloway. O’Brien moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1980, where she started the Prosperity Jazz Band. In 1985, O’Brien and Tim reformed their high school duo for a one-off show in Boulder. It was such a success that it became an annual event. O’Brien released her debut album on Resounding Records in 1987, then recorded an album with Tim for the Sugar Hill label. In the early ’90s, O’Brien sang with the blues and R&B band the Blue Tips, recorded two more albums with Tim, Remember Me and Away Out on the Mountain (both on Sugar Hill), and released her second solo album, Every Night of the Week (Resounding Records). The duo finally split up after Tim moved to Nashville in 1996. With her next solo albums, Tell It True and Big Red Sun (Sugar Hill), O’Brien moved out of her brother’s shadow and out of the folk-bluegrass niche. Her latest record is Things I Gave Away (Sugar Hill). (www.mollieobrien.com). Joining O’Brien tonight on guitar is Nina Gerber (www.ninagerber.com).


John Renbourn

JOHN RENBOURN was born in Marylebone, London, at the end of World War II. His mother played light-classical pieces on the piano, and he was introduced to Early Music through music lessons at school. After studying classical guitar for two years at the George Abbot School in Guildford, Renbourn moved to London to break into the Soho folk circuit and record solo albums for Transatlantic Records. There he met guitarist Bert Jansch and singer Jacqui McShee, with whom he founded the folk-rock ensemble Pentangle in 1967. The group recorded six albums and three movie soundtracks, and made numerous television appearances, as well as American and world tours. After the band split in 1978, Renbourn performed and recorded as a soloist, before forming the John Renbourn Group, which integrated his guitar with Indian tabla and jazz reeds. He later partnered with Stefan Grossman for several albums and tours, then recorded two albums exploring his interest in Celtic music. In addition to his solo work, Renbourn often tours with Scottish harper and storyteller Robin Williamson, and also works with Grossman, Scottish singer-songwriter Archie Fisher, and French-Algerian guitar virtuoso Pierre Bensusan. His latest CD is Traveller's Prayer (Shanachie Records). (www.johnrenbourn.com)


Robin and Linda Williams

ROBIN & LINDA WILLIAMS met in the early ’70s and began their musical partnership in the creative underground of songwriters’ nights and open stages in Nashville. Their first album was a self-titled release on Flashlight Records in 1975. That same year, they also began their frequent guests appearances on A Prairie Home Companion since 1976. They have appeared on the Nashville Network’s Fire on the Mountain, Nashville Now, and Music City Tonight, and have been heard on other nationwide radio programs, including the Grand Ole Opry, Mountain Stage and NPR’s All Things Considered. Their numerous recordings include Devil of a Dream and Sugar for Sugar (both on the Sugar Hill label), and Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group—Live, Sugar Hill’s re­release of Strictly Country Records’ Live in Holland. Robin and Linda’s harmonies can also be heard on Mary Chapin Carpenter’s album, Stones in the Road, and on Iris DeMent’s recording, My Life. As part of the Hopeful Gospel Quartet, the duo recorded a live album from Carnegie Hall (produced by Chet Atkins, on Sony Records), toured across the United States and Europe, and was featured on PBS’ Austin City Limits. Their most recent recording is In the Company of Strangers (Sugar Hill). (www.robinandlinda.com)

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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