Saturday, October 28, 2006
Bonnie RaittMinnesota has a claim to fame in music legend Bonnie Raitt's extraordinary career: Her first album was recorded in the Twin Cities suburb of Minnetonka and produced by Minneapolis blues stalwart Willie Murphy. Born to a musical family (she's the daughter of celebrated Broadway singer John Raitt and pianist/singer Marge Goddard), Raitt grew up in Los Angeles. Her creative journey began the Christmas she was eight, when she got her first guitar. In her teens, she heard the album Blues at Newport 1963. "That one record changed my life," she says. By the late '60s, as a Harvard/Radcliffe student majoring in African studies, she was making the rounds of Cambridge coffeehouses. After three years of college, she quit school to commit herself full-time to music. Soon she was opening for the likes of Mississippi Fred McDowell, Son House, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. These days, Raitt can claim legions of fans, stacks of recordings, and a host of awards, including nine Grammys. In 2000, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the following year she was welcomed into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, along with her father. Her recent CDs are Souls Alike and Bonnie Raitt and Friends.
The Wailin' JennysWhen three solo performers with powerful voices joined forces for a one-time gig in 2002, everything changed. The collaboration was a huge success, surprising everyone, including The Wailin' Jennys. Soon the ad hoc trio was on tour, and within a few weeks the word was out: People were calling them "a bona fide Canadian sensation." Now their fame is spreading. Writing in the Sydney [Australia] Morning Herald, one music critic said, "This is about as good as contemporary folk gets." Closer to home, a Winnipeg Free Press reporter proclaimed that the group's harmony singing has "the ability to send shivers up your spine." The Wailin' Jennys are soprano Ruth Moody, a pianist, songwriter and classically trained vocalist; mezzo Nicky Mehta, a poet and songwriter whose first album was nominated for a 2002 Canadian Music Award; and alto Annabelle Chvostek, who performed her first gig at the age of seven with the Canadian Opera Company, and later broke into the Montreal cabaret scene. The trio's critically acclaimed CD 40 Days won a 2005 Juno Award for Best Roots and Traditional Album of the Year. Their second album, Firecracker, was released this year on the Red House label.
Andy SteinAndy Stein (violin, saxophone) definitely has far-flung musical leanings, He collaborated with Garrison Keillor to create the opera Mr. and Mrs. Olson, and he's performed with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Eric Clapton, Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan.
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).