Special Guests
Saturday, March 19, 2005

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 for the show 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. 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. His most recent release was Bethlehem After Dark (Daring), a jazz holiday album featuring cellist Laura Sewell.

Gillian Welch grew up in Los Angeles, where her musical parents wrote for the Carol Burnett Show. She discovered alternative music and bluegrass while attending the University of California at Santa Cruz. In the early '90s she met David Rawlings at the Berklee College of music in Boston, and they have written songs, recorded, and performed as a duo in the years since. Welch sang with Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss on the soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou, an album which triggered a revival in traditional American folk music. They have also appeared on numerous tribute albums, and as guests on albums by such artists as Ryan Adams and Mark Knopfler. Welch and Rawlings released a DVD titled The Revelator Collection and their most recent CD is Soul Journey, their second release on their own Acony Records label.

Australian singer/songwriter Jeff Lang became interested in music at age 8, when he started playing the clarinet. As a teen, he switched to guitar and began performing as a blues guitarist at 17, supporting artists like Albert Collins, Rory Gallagher, and Trudy Lynn. His musical vocabulary expanded to include traditional Celtic and folk elements as he began recording his own material in 1990. Along with gigs in local blues bands, Lang formed the Jeff Lang Band as a showcase for his songwriting skills. Though the band broke up in 1993, by the following year he released his debut album Ravenswood. In 1995, Disturbed Folk captured Lang in a live setting, and 1996's Native Dog Creek was named "Best Australian Blues Album" in a Rhythms Magazine readers' poll. 1998 saw the release of Cedar Grove, which came out in the U.S. the following year. In 2001 he released a live DVD with Angus Diggs and Don Walker, and most recently released the collaborative CD Rolling Through This World with Diggs and Bob Brozman.

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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