Saturday, January 27, 2007
Philip BrunelleMost kids badger their parents for the latest games and toys. Not six-year-old Philip Brunelle. He wanted the vocal score to Handel's "Messiah." Now an internationally renowned conductor, choral scholar and performer, he is the founder and artistic director of the Minneapolis-based VocalEssence, one of America's premier choral arts organizations. In 2002, Brunelle presided over the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music, and he has appeared as guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Berkshire Choral Festival, the Swedish Royal Opera, the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony, among others. His many awards include a Kodály Medal from the government of Hungary and the Royal Order of the Polar Star from the King of Sweden. In 2005, he was named honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). Brunelle appeared on the very first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion, July 6, 1974. He's been a frequent guest on the show ever since.
Terry GrossFor more than three decades, listeners by the milions have faithfully tuned in to WHYY-FM in Philadelphia to hear Terry Gross's Fresh Air, one of public radio's most popular programs. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Gross thought she'd be a lyricist. And while she may have missed that mark, she does have a way with words: Her thousands of Fresh Air interviews have landed her a Peabody Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and numerous other honors. She got into radio in the early 1970s at WBFO in Buffalo, New York, after a dismal six-week stint teaching eighth grade. Within a couple of years, she had become producer and host of Fresh Air, then still a local program. The show went national in 1985; it is now carried on more than 400 stations. Gross's book, All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians, and Artists, was published by Hyperion in 2004.
Doyle Lawson & QuicksilverDoyle Lawson was born in East Tennesseewhere he still makes his home-and grew up in a family that sang gospel music. He remembers looking forward to Saturdays when the Grand Ole Opry was on the air and he could hear the likes of Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. At age 11, Doyle taught himself to play the mandolin, and when he was still in his teens, he got a job playing banjo with Jimmy Martin. In 1966, he joined J.D. Crowe and five years later went to work with The Country Gentlemen. He started his own band in 1979, calling it Doyle Lawson & Foxfire, before settling on Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. They've released some three dozen albums in the last 27 years, the most recent titled He Lives In Me (Horizon). The group has earned multiple Grammy nominations and innumerable International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, including six consecutive Vocal Group of the Year awards. The band: Jamie Dailey on guitar, Terry Baucom on banjo, fiddler David Crow, and Darren Beachley on bass.
Amos LeePhiladelphia native Amos Lee set out to be a schoolteacher. After earning a degree in English from the University of South Carolina, he taught elementary school for a while. But he dreamed of being a musician, so he quit the teaching biz to focus on singing and songwriting. With his smooth vocals and a style that has been described as jazz-meets-soul-meets-folk, he caught the attention of the Blue Note record label and released his debut album, Amos Lee, in 2005 the same year Rolling Stone named him one of the year's "10 Artists to Watch." He has opened for the likes of Norah Jones, B.B. King and Bob Dylan, but chances are, up-and-coming artists are lining up to do opening sets for him. Amos Lee's latest album is Supply and Demand (Blue Note).
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).