Special Guests
Saturday, January 7, 2006


The band name comes from the old Hee Haw show—it was Junior Samples' phone number. They got their start in the mid 1990s when they played a few years in the store window of Robert's Western World, on Broadway just behind the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Four nights a week on the 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift, back when the streets were mostly empty. It's very much up and running these days, and Robert's still sells boots there. They thought it was the end of the line at the time but it turned out to be the launching pad to Norway, Australia, Japan, Bosnia, the good old USA and a lot of places in between. The New York Times said they were "without question, one of the best groups to ever walk out of the roadhouse circuit and record an album." They were named "Nashville's hippest band" by Playboy and have earned a slew of raves and awards, and some Grammy™ nominations as well. Their most recent album, of seven, is titled Tangled in the Pines, on the Dualtone label.

Sally Dworsky

Sally is a St. Paul bred singer-songwriter, now living in the L.A. area. Releases include a solo EP called Habit Trail (Merm Records), and an album with the band Uma called Farewell (MCA/Refuge Records). She has also performed and recorded as a background singer with artists including Jonatha Brooke, R.E.M., Peter Gabriel, Don Henley and Peter Himmelman. She provided the singing voices for several animated characters in films including The Lion King, The Prince of Egypt, and Shrek.

She's now working on new music of her own, and is recording a collection of favorite cover songs with her brother, Rich.

Prudence Johnson

Prudence Johnson's 25-year career in music has taken her from honky-tonks to Carnegie Hall, from the theater stage to the Silver Screen (Robert Redford's A River Runs Through It), from the Midwest to the Middle East. Her ten album releases include Little Dreamer, a collection of international lullabies, Moon Country, which features the music of Hoagy Carmichael, and S'Gershwin, a collaboration with pianist Dan Chouinard. She recently collaborated with four Minnesota composers to create A Girl Named Vincent, a presentation of the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay set to music to be released on CD this year, and is currently writing a play about Elisabeth Hauptmann, an uncredited collaborator of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. Prudence is a 2001 recipient of the McKnight Artists Fellowship for Performing Musicians and enjoys a steady schedule of concert appearances across the country.

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.

Dan Chouinard

For six years he conducted a talking musical radio show called "The Singer's Voice," on Jazz 88, KBEM-FM; between musical selections he would interview singers from the keyboard of a piano. He hosted over 200 guests on that show. He is a former teacher of French and Italian and has traveled to those countries extensively by bicycle, carrying a tent and an accordion. "A wonderful way to travel," he says, "especially if you keep the accordion to a manageable size." He will be going back again this summer, and he is doing a musical travel story show here in the Fitzgerald Theater on May 21st, to be called Cafe Europa. He is also the co-musical director at the Church of Saint Joan of Arc in Minneapolis.

Jearlyn Steele

A native of Indiana, Jearlyn Steele first sang with her siblings (as The Steele Children) in churches, concert halls and on radio and television. After Jearlyn left home to attend the University of Minnesota, one by one the rest of the Steele kids followed, and they started singing together again as The Steeles. Now music is the family business. Fans still remember their participation in The Gospel at Colonus at the Guthrie Theater and on Broadway. Jearlyn has voiced many local and national commercials, and she has recorded with top acts including George Clinton and Prince. Her most recent CD is titled Steele Praising Him. Jearlyn Steele hosts Steele Talkin', a Sunday-night radio show that originates on WCCO in Minneapolis and is heard in some 30 states nationwide.

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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