Saturday, April 05, 2008
When Brad Paisley was about eight, his grandfather gave him a guitar and a piece of advice: "Anything that's going wrong in your life, you can pick this guitar up and it'll go away. Seems grandpa was right. At 12, Paisley wrote his first song. His school principal heard it and invited him to perform at a Rotary Club meeting. That's when a radio program director who was in the audience asked Brad to appear on WWVA's Jamboree USA. Brad was a hit. He hasn't stopped wowing music moguls and fans alike. In 2001, he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, and he has been honored with numerous awards from the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and more. This year, he took home a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance. 5th Gear (Arista Nashville) is Paisley's most recent album.
The Edinburgh Evening News may have put it best: "To call Jean Redpath a Scottish folk singer is a bit like calling Michelangelo an Italian interior decorator." Indeed, this song collector, vocalist and M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire) is a pivotal figure in traditional music. She arrived in the U.S. in 1961, fresh out of university with $11 in her pocket. Soon she was living in Greenwich Village, sharing quarters with '60s folk legends like Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Bob Dylan. A hootenanny appearance at Gerdes Folk City led to bookings and a rave review in The New York Times. Now, 40 albums and thousands of performances later, Redpath is still exploring the wealth of Scottish oral tradition, and she continues to win raves from fans worldwide. Her latest CD is By Request (Jean Redpath Records).
Each week, millions tune in to watch Kimberly Williams-Paisley play the part of "Dana" on the hit TV sitcom According to Jim. But many remember her from her big-screen role as the young bride in two Father of the Bride movies. And a select few may still recall her directing debut—the 1989 Rye (New York) High School Musical Revue. She made her first Broadway appearance in Alfred Uhry's The Last Night at Ballyhoo, and she has performed in The Vagina Monologues, All in the Timing, and on the London stage in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow. Inspired by a news story about children with xeroderma pigmentosum—a rare genetic disorder causing inability to tolerate sunlight—she wrote, directed and starred in the award-winning short film Shade. It featured original music by Kimberly's husband, Brad Paisley.
Marguerite Harvey, Production Assistant
Many years ago, Marguerite Harvey volunteered at a Minnesota Public Radio pledge drive. She's been associated with public radio ever since, including full-time and part-time jobs at Public Radio International. She has been part of the Prairie Home Companion team for a couple of decades. As production assistant, she takes care of countless details, not the least of which is maintaining the show "bible"—meticulous records of each broadcast. Not a bad gig for a self-described "radio junkie." In her spare time, Marguerite likes to travel—she's been everywhere, Borneo to Berlin, Thailand to the Thames—ride horses, read and play bridge. And she never misses a chance to dote on her family—six kids, 15 grandchildren and a half-dozen great-grandchildren
The Town Hall
"Not a bad seat in the house." That's been The Town Hall's motto almost from the beginning, when a group of suffragists hired architectural firm McKim, Mead & White to build a hall for their organization, the League for Political Education. The design had no box seats and no columns to obstruct anyone's view. Hence, the slogan. Since its opening on January 12, 1921, this building has seen its share of stunning performances and historic controversy. Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay made her public debut here, as did singer Marian Anderson. Birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger was arrested and carted off the stage during a speech. There were lectures by Theodore Roosevelt, Booker T. Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt and countless others, in addition to 20 years' worth of American Town Meetings of the Air radio broadcasts, launched by NBC in 1935. Performers from Billie Holiday to Bob Dylan, Ruth St. Denis to Ravi Shankar have entertained Town Hall audiences - more than eight decades of music and dance and ideas. And still not a bad seat in the house.
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).