Special Guests
Saturday, August 13, 2005

"Spider" John Koerner

He was born in 1938 in Rochester, New York, and at the age of 15 was one of the youngest licensed student glider pilots in the nation. He became an engineering student at the University of Minnesota and built his own place in folk music, giving it more body and energy than was generally used at the time. He developed his own style early and he's held to the same approach throughout his distinguished career. We used to see him at the Triangle Bar on Riverside Avenue in Minneapolis (now gone), where he not only sang but told jokes and showed his own home movies. He has done 16 albums with Koerner, Ray and Glover and has been part of 22 others.

Marcia Ball

Born in Orange, Texas, to a piano-playing family, Marcia Ball grew up in Vinton, Louisiana, just across the Texas border. She began taking piano lessons at age five and at thirteen discovered the blues. After college, Ball fell in love with Austin, TX, after her car broke down on a trip to San Francisco. She decided to make Austin her new home. Ball has produced nine albums, including Presumed Innocent, which won the W.C. Handy Blues Award for "Best Album of the Year." Her sound, a combination of raucous boogie and heart-melting ballad, has been featured on National Public Radio's Fresh Air. Marcia and her band have also appeared in performance with B.B. King and Della Reese for PBS's In Performance at the White House. Marcia's newest album, So Many Rivers, was released by Alligator Records.


Väsen is a group of some of Sweden's best musicians who have, between them, been featured with dozens of Swedish and international groups, ranging from nyckelharpa orchestras and Swedish traditional bands to the Kronos Quartet and the chart-topping folk-rock band Nordman. Väsen's music is a uniquely beautiful combination of the traditional sounds of the viola and nyckelharpa (a keyed fiddle unique to Sweden), and the more modern sounds of an alternatively tuned 12-string guitar and percussion ensemble. Combining jazz, classical, dance, and folk elements, Väsen manages at once to be delicate and intensely energetic. They have produced many albums together; their most recent offering is "Trio" which was released earlier this year on NorthSide.

Stuart Duncan

Stuart Duncan, who grew up as a fiddle and mandolin prodigy in southern CA, emerged as a powerful presence on the bluegrass music scene when he moved to Nashville in the 1980s. He is a founding member of the prestigious Nashville Bluegrass Band, with whom he still performs, and was a prominently featured artist on the Down From The Mountain tour in 2002. Stuart is a two-time Grammy award winner who has been voted Fiddle Player of the Year many times by his peers in the International Bluegrass Music Association. One of Nashville's most sought-after musicians, Duncan has been featured with artists as diverse as Bela Fleck, Dolly Parton, Sting and the Dixie Chicks. His solo album "Stuart Duncan" was released on Rounder Records.

Jeannie Kendall

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Jeannie Kendall began singing professionally with her father, Royce, when she was in her teens. From 1977 to 1984, The Kendalls hit the country charts' top 10 with 11 singles. The Grammy-winning father/daughter duo, The Kendalls, were responsible for such country classics as "Heaven's Just a Sin Away," "Sweet Desire," and "Thank God for the Radio." Now, five years after her father's death, Kendall has her own acoustic album titled, Jeannie Kendall, with accompanying vocals by several county performers, including Alan Jackson, Rhonda Vincent and Alison Krauss. Her father also contributed vocals to two before his passing. Billboard magazine said that Jeannie's voice "is a wonder, capable of jaw dropping heights and heartbreaking emotion."

Becky Schlegel

Becky Schlegel grew up in Kimball, South Dakota playing piano and listening to Patsy Cline, to whom she is now being compared. During college, she spent her summers playing in a Mountain Music Show in Custer, South Dakota. After a friend there gave her three albums by Reno and Smiley, she became addicted to bluegrass music. Schlegel moved to Minnesota in 1994, sold her piano, and forced herself to become a better guitar player. A jam session at a friend's house in April of 1997 led to the formation of her band, True Blue. Within a few years of entering the world of bluegrass music, the group released a self-produced CD, This Lonesome Song and, in 1999, the band was one of only 24 to be showcased at the International Bluegrass Music Association convention in Kentucky. In 2000, Schlegel and True Blue won the Bluegrass Band of the Year award, given by the Minnesota Music Academy. Schlegel's second album, Red Leaf, was released in 2001. A departure from her former "strictly bluegrass" style, the album showcases eleven original songs. The title song, "Red Leaf," was even awarded the title of "Minnesota Song of the Year" at the Minnesota Music Festival sponsored by the Northfield, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

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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