Saturday, May 03, 2008
Former U.S. — and New Hampshire — Poet Laureate Maxine Kumin grew up in the Germantown area of Philadelphia and was educated at Radcliffe. She is the author of 16 books of poems — most recently, Still to Mow (W. W. Norton & Company) — in addition to novels, collections of essays, children's books, and the memoir Inside the Halo and Beyond: Anatomy of a Recovery, which chronicles her recovery after a near-fatal carriage-driving accident. For Up Country, her 1972 poetry collection, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, only one of numerous honors she has received over the years. Maxine Kumin and her husband of more than six decades, Victor Kumin, make their home on a farm in Warner, New Hampshire.
Singer/songwriter David Mallett grew up in the Maine woods — a fifth-generation Mainer - and has spent decades writing and performing some of folk music's best-loved songs. (Is there anyone who can't sing, "Inch by inch, row by row …"?) At age 10, he was already on his career path, playing in a country and folk duo with his brother. As an acting student at the University of Maine, he began writing his own material. His latest recording, however, is a spoken-word album featuring text from Henry David Thoreau's book The Maine Woods, set against melodies composed by Mallett. Titled The Fable True (North Road Records), it was inspired by the 150th anniversary of Thoreau's 1857 trip to Maine. Joining David Mallett are Mike Burd (bass) and Susan Ramsey (violin, viola).
Fiddlers Doug Protsik, Lucien Mathieu, Carter Newell and Milo Stanley
These four represent several generations of traditional Maine fiddling. Lucien Mathieu, eightysomething, learned tunes from his father, an immigrant from Canada. He appeared on APHC in 1992 as leader of The Maine French Fiddlers. Twelve-year-old Milo Stanley knew at age six that he wanted to play the violin. He studies classical music and loves the old fiddle tunes. Doug Protsik and Carter Newell are the middle-agers in the bunch. Doug is the director of Maine Fiddle Camp and founder of the Maine Traditional Music Association. Carter is Maine's fiddling marine biologist and aquaculturalist. When he isn't raising and harvesting oysters and mussels, he is playing "down east" fiddle tunes. Both Doug and Carter are members of Old Grey Goose, a trio that specializes in old-time country dance music of Maine and the Maritimes.
The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band
The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band is led by A Prairie Home Companion music director Richard Dworsky (keyboard) and features Pat Donohue (guitar), Gary Raynor (bass), Andy Stein (violin, saxophone) and Peter Johnson (percussion).
Tony Axtell, House Sound Engineer
Tony Axtell keeps busy — an understatement. He is not only the house sound engineer with A Prairie Home Companion, but also an accomplished bassist, keyboardist, drummer, guitarist, vocalist, composer, arranger and producer. Throughout his three-decade career, he has toured and recorded with an array of artists including, jazz vocalist Mark Murphy, keyboardist Toshi Hinata, fusion group "Samoa," keyboardist/producer Ricky Peterson, pop singer Donny Osmond, Japanese pianist Yukiko Isomura and vocalist Kimberly Michaels, to name a few. A native Minnesotan and graduate of the Musician's Institute of Technology in Los Angeles, Tony produces several CDs per year on his own and in collaboration with his associate Matthew Zimmerman of Wild Sound Studios in Minneapolis.
Since it opened in — when it made quite a splash with architect Eaton Tarbell's unique V-shaped design — Bangor Auditorium has seen a nonstop parade of concerts, political rallies, horse shows, ice shows, trade shows, boxing matches, circuses and conventions. Musical acts from Gene Autry to Garth Brooks, Lynyrd Skynyrd to B.B. King have taken the stage, and so has Big Bird, in a number of Sesame Street Live productions. It's where, in February of 1978, President Jimmy Carter held a town meeting, and 30 years later — almost to the day — Senator Barack Obama spoke before a standing-room-only crowd. But to most Mainers, Bangor Auditorium means basketball — the site of the annual state high school championships.
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).