Special Guests
Saturday, January 1, 2005

Barn Owl Band

The BARN OWL BAND is the house band for the Central Iowa Barn Dance Association in Ames, whose web site asks that you come and have a good time, and help each other learn the steps with humor and grace; but please, people, have a little respect for your neighbors. It's not a free-for-all or a competitive sport and it isn't child care service either. And you're not allowed to wear your street shoes on the dance floor. You get the impression that if you want to go out and make of fool of yourself on Saturday night there are plenty other places around who'll be glad to have you: places where you need to keep your street shoes on.

They do New England-style contradances, American square dancing and the occasional polkas, schottisches, reels, and circle dances, and one called the hambo. Group dances are walked through and called.

There are seven in the band: fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, piano, accordion, and upright bass. Their musical backgrounds range from classical piano schooling to a jug band that got gonged on the Gong Show; from jazz percussion training at the Chicago School of Music to family string bands to classical violin.

Stas Venglevski

hails from the Republic of Moldova, formerly a part of the Soviet Union. He is a virtuoso of the bayan, a five-octave concert accordion that is one of the most beloved folk instruments in Russia. Venglevski won two first prizes at Bayan competitions in The Republic of Moldova and received his Masters Degree in Music at the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow before immigrating to the United States in 1992. He was recently elected the 25th President of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG). He has performed frequently with conductor Doc Severinsen, symphony orchestras, and as a member of the "Sta Sera" duo with accordionist John Simkus. Their most recent CD is entitled Seasonings.

Cindy Cashdollar

Cindy Cashdollar grew up in Woodstock, NY and was captivated by Delta blues music at a young age; she began playing guitar when she was eleven. She now plays steel guitar and dobro and has won five Grammy Awards in the course of recording with leading country, roots, jazz, and folk artists. She spent eight years touring, playing, and recording with the Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel, and her talents can he heard on Bob Dylan's Grammy-winning Album of the Year Time Out of Mind, as well as on recordings by Manhattan Transfer, The Dixie Chicks, Reba McEntire, and Willie Nelson. Cashdollar has also made three instructional videos for steel guitar and dobro and conducts workshops across the nation. Her first solo CD, Slideshow, was released in 2003.

Milton "Soupy" Schindler

He grew up on the north side of Minneapolis. By age 17, Schindler was playing at the Scholar Coffeehouse in Dinkytown with the New King David Jug Band. In the 1960s and '70s, riding the crest of a folk music renaissance, he toured nationally and played on bills with folk luminaries including Vassar Clements, Rosalie Sorrels, Utah Phillips, and Frank Wakefield. He received his nickname because of his resemblance to TV star Soupy Sales.

Peter Ostroushko

Asked how many albums, besides his own nine, that he had played on, he said: "Played on... well... Hard to say, exactly... five hundred is the number that comes to mind. It would be right around that..." He's currently working on a project of old live tracks of the Mando Boys, and he's also transcribing music of the great Irish fiddler John Dougherty to put in book form. He recently took a trip to Ireland, particularly to County Donegal and to the archives in Dublin, to track down his works; said he liked Ireland a lot more than he expected to.

Butch Thompson

He first became interested in jazz during his childhood in Marine-on-St. Croix, Minnesota, where he discovered the piano at age three. In high school he collected jazz LP records and in 1956 went with his father to see Louis Armstrong at Northrop; stood in a long line to meet him afterwards and got his autograph. He led his first band, Shirt Thompson and his Sleeves, and played his first professional engagements as a teenager. In 1962 he joined the Hall Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band on clarinet and began a series of pilgrimages to New Orleans. He studied with clarinetist George Lewis and became one of the few non-Orleanians to guest at Preservation Hall. His playing was described by the Wall Street Journal as "...the incomparable jazz piano of Butch Thompson." He writes articles and reviews on jazz and produces his own weekly show, Jazz Originals, on KBEM radio in Minneapolis. His writing has appeared in Down Beat, The Mississippi Rag, Keyboard Classics and New Orleans 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).

Available now»

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