Special Guests
Saturday, January 22, 2005

Rhonda Vincent

Her biography is almost hard to read. She started playing when she was five years old and by age six was the drummer in the family band, the Sally Mountain Show. She was a major star before she graduated from high school.

She has 21 albums out on her own and has been a guest on 29 others. She has 9 videos to her credit and began winning awards in 1973, when she was the Missouri State Fiddle Champion; 38 more have followed, both instrumental and vocal, including a Grammy in 2004. The Wall Street Journal called her "The New Queen of Bluegrass." They apparently know their bluegrass out there on Wall Street.

She is an innovator, the first woman to break from traditional forms into a more complex and faster-paced instrumental style, and writing her own music in the process. Her latest CD is rightly named One Step Ahead. She is also about to release a new DVD called Ragin' Live on the Rounder Records label.

Jim Lauderdale

His name is not generally a household word unless the household is in Nashville, but he has released ten albums of his own and his songs have been recorded on 81 others. Some have been hits for Vince Gill or George Strait and others have been recorded by artists as diverse as John Mayall, Dave Edmunds, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Lucinda Williams. And some were recorded with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, in a Grammy™-winning album titled Lost in the Lonesome Pines, on Dualtone Records.

He writes tunes in a wide variety of styles, but his strongest critical praise comes for the hard country honkytonk music of Bakersfield- the Buck Owens and Merle Haggard styles - and for the bluegrass sounds of East Tennessee and the Appalachians. He has the ability to write music that a person thinks they may have heard somewhere, perhaps sometime a while back.

His own latest recording is Headed for the Hills, co-written with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter on Dualtone.

John Niemann

He got started in music at the right time and place, and for the right reasons; he was in high school and there were girls there. He began with Leo Fender's gift to the world, the electric bass, and started a rock and roll band. In college he discovered acoustic music on the West Bank in Minneapolis and learned the guitar, fiddle and mandolin, eventually finding himself playing a 1920s Gibson mandocello in Peter Ostroushko's band, the Mando Boys. He played kick-butt fiddle for seven years in the Stoney Lonesome bluegrass band, did a number of guitar gigs with various honkytonk bands around the cities, and for three years was in "the house band at a place called Billy Bob's, or something," at Riverplace. After years spent as a road musician and working in construction, he has settled into the relatively quiet St. Paul life of a finish carpenter. He keeps his music honed with jam sessions in the basement.

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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