Special Guests
Saturday, June 30, 2007

Karan Casey

She first sang in a church choir in her parish of Ballyduff Lower, in Ireland. She went to Dublin, trained in piano and voice at the Irish School of Music and at the Royal Irish Academy of Music; at the same time she was singing in a jazz band called Bourbon Street and was the resident singer in George's Bistro for two years. In 1993 she moved to New York and began working on a jazz degree at Brooklyn's Long Island University, where she was asked to join the group Atlantic Bridge and went on to become a founding member of Solas. They recorded three albums in four years, played with Béla Fleck, Iris De Ment, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, the Chieftains, and Paul Winter; and they toured America, Europe and Japan. She has also recorded three solo albums, most recently, Chasing the Sun on the Shanachie label. The Wall Street Journal wrote that she is one of the true glories of Irish music today, a view supported by The Herald, of Glasgow, who called her "The most soulful singer to emerge in Irish traditional music in the past decade." They say she can make you believe any story she tells you.

Sally Dworsky

Sally Dworsky grew up in musical St. Paul family. She remembers being a very young child and falling asleep underneath the piano while older brother Rich-now A Prairie Home Companion's music director-practiced. These days, Sally makes her home in the Los Angeles area, where she's fronted her own band, been a member of the band Uma, and recorded and toured with the likes of R.E.M., Peter Gabriel and Don Henley. Her singing voice is also heard in the leading roles for such animated films as Shrek, Prince of Egypt and The Lion King. Her most recent album-songs by Tom Waits, Loudon Wainwright, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Irving Berlin and others-was recorded with Rich Dworsky. It's called Start It All Over Again (Inner Vista Records).

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver

Doyle Lawson was born in East Tennessee-where 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). In 2004, they celebrated the band's 25th anniversary with a concert, now available on DVD. The group has earned multiple Grammy nominations and innumerable International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, including five consecutive Vocal Group of the Year awards. The band: Jamie Dailey on guitar, Terry Baucom on banjo, fiddler Mike Hartgrove, and Darren Beachley on bass.

Leo Kottke

He recorded Twelve String Blues in 1969 live at the The Scholar Coffee House, recorded Circle ‘Round The Sun in 1970 and sent it to John Fahey, whose manager got him a contract with Capitol Records. He has 34 albums to his credit now, plus four singles. His latest release, Try and Stop Me, features a good deal of improvisation, unusual for Leo. "I deliberately lost count," he said, “So you don't know where the one (count) is until it's already gone past you. It's gonna infuriate people because of that. We really have the 12-bar blues format deeply ingrained in us, whether we even know what it is or not." Leo has just finished recording another cd with Phish bassist Mike Gordon, Sixty Six Steps, due out this fall.

John C. Reilly

John C. Reilly's has been an actor since he was about 8 years old. He credits the Chicago Park District for his career choice. "They had great after-school programs for kids, woodworking, drama and music and all this stuff." Acting kept young John—who grew up in a rough neighborhood on Chicago's South Side—out of trouble. He graduated from Brother Rice High School, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from DePaul University's Goodman School of Drama, and eventually became a member of Chicago's renowned Steppenwolf Theatre. Reilly's first film was Brian De Palma's Casualties of War in 1989. Since then, he has had roles in dozens of movies, including Days of Thunder, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The River Wild, Boogie Nights, The Perfect Storm, The Thin Red Line, Gangs of New York and Chicago, for which he received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actor. In 2004, he starred with Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, sharing the award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast from the Screen Actors Guild. And he appears as Lefty in Robert Altman's new film, A Prairie Home Companion. Reilly frequently returns to his theater roots and recently was seen in the title role of Marty, based on the movie and Paddy Chayefsky screenplay of the same name. In 2000, he appeared in Sam Shepard's Broadway production True West, starring opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman and garnering a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Lead Actor. His other stage credits include starring with Gary Sinise in the Steppenwolf Theatre productions of The Grapes of Wrath and A Streetcar Named Desire, and producing and playing the title role in Ionesco's Exit the King at the Actors Gang Theatre in Los Angeles. In 2005, he returned to Broadway and A Streetcar Named Desire, this time to tackle the role of Stanley Kowalski to wide acclaim.

Andy Stein

Andy Stein (violin, saxophone) collaborated with Garrison Keillor to create the opera Mr. and Mrs. Olson. He has appeared on Saturday Night Live and Late Night with David Letterman, and has performed with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Eric Clapton, Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan.

Meryl Streep

Growing up in New Jersey, Meryl Streep wanted to be an opera singer. But while a student at Vassar, she became interested in acting and after graduation she enrolled in the Yale School of Drama. She made her first feature film appearance in "Julia" (1977), and the next year she was nominated for her first Oscar for her role in "The Deer Hunter" (1978). In all, she has been nominated for the Academy Award 13 times, and has won it twice: for "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979) and "Sophie's Choice" (1982). She has given outstanding performances in many other notable films, including "The French Lieutenant's Woman," "Silkwood," "Out of Africa," "Heartburn," "Ironweed," "Postcards from the Edge," "Dancing at Lughnasa," "Music of the Heart," "The Hours" and "Adaptation." On stage Streep has appeared in the Public Theater's production of "The Seagull" by Anton Chekhov, and later this summer, she will play the title role in the Public Theater's presentation of Bertolt Brecht's "Mother Courage and Her Children." In addition to her Academy Award honors, she has won several Emmy Awards (most recently for the HBO production of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America"), numerous People's Choice Awards, the Golden Globe, the New York Film Critics Circle Award, the National Society of Film Critics Award, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, and a Life Achievement Award presented by the American Film Institute. In 2004, she joined The Culture Project as producer for the staging of Sarah Jones's one-woman show "Bridge and Tunnel." Streep plays one of the singing Johnson Sisters in the Robert Altman film "A Prairie Home Companion," and she recently finished production on the movie "The Devil Wears Prada," in which she plays a high-powered New York City fashion magazine editor. She will narrate a pair of children's classics—The Velveteen Rabbit and The Night Before Christmas—available soon at Starbucks, and later in general release by Random House Inc.'s Listening Library.

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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