Special Guests
Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Flatlanders

The Flatlanders, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, and Butch Hancock released their first recording, Jimmie Dale and the Flatlanders, in 1973 in eight-track tape format only. Despite limited initial distribution, the album's following grew over the decades as the trio pursued their individual careers, and was re-released on CD in the 1990s under the title More a Legend Than a Band. Nearly thirty years after their recording debut, they released their second album, Now Again, including the song "South Wind of Summer" from the movie The Horse Whisperer. Their current lineup also includes Rob Cgjersoe, Chris Searles, and Gary Herman. The Flatlanders' most recent album is Wheels of Fortune.

Sally Dworsky

Sally Dworsky 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.


Founded by Philip Brunelle in 1969 under the name Plymouth Music Series, VocalEssence is recognized internationally for innovative exploration of music for voices and instruments. Each year the organization, under Brunelle's direction, presents a series of concerts featuring the 120-voice VocalEssence Chorus and the 32-voice Ensemble Singers along with soloists and instrumentalists. VocalEssence has received the ASCAP/ Chorus America Award for adventurous programming of contemporary music an unprecedented five times, and was awarded the Margaret Hillis Achievement Award for Choral Excellence. Their latest recordings are Over the River & Through the Woods, a live concert celebration of Thanksgiving, and Hymn to Potatoes, a compilation of choral skits and bits from their appearances on A Prairie Home Companion. In December of 2005, Philip Brunelle was recognized for his outstanding service to British music and culture by being named an Honorary Member of Order of the British Empire.

Dan Neale

Dan Neale is a guitarist who moves easily from blues and country to pop, jazz, and rock. Fingerpicking, flatpicking — he's got it covered. Back when he was a high school kid in Chattanooga, he began to think about a career in music. He played in the school band and in a group formed by his brother. That led to work with a slew of bar bands and a full-time stint in country rock group called Rawhide. In 1986, he left Tennessee for Minnesota ("I married a woman who hates hot weather," he says). As a studio player and sideman, he has worked with Martin Zellar, Bobby Vee, and a host of others. Recently, he teamed up with singer/songwriter Rex Haberman to do a CD aptly called Neale & Haberman (Reissner Records). A solo album is in the works, due for release this spring.

Prudence Johnson

That silky alto and striking style — you'd expect to find Prudence Johnson singing at a high-tone nightspot. And you might. But be it a concert hall, a little jazz club or A Prairie Home Companion, Pru is the perfect complement. As one music critic put it, "[There's] not a genre she hasn't interpreted with her ducky, sensual alto voice and terminally good taste." Her 10 album releases include Moon Country, featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, and 'S Gershwin. On the silver screen, she appeared in Robert Redford's A River Runs Through It, and in Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion. On the music front, a new CD of French songs — pop to classical — with accordionist Dan Chouinard is in the works for later this year.

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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