Saturday, June 28, 2008
By the time he reached his teens, Donald Hall knew that he wanted to write for a living. And that's what he's done—dozens of books of poetry and prose, including The Painted Bed, Without, The Best Day the Worst Day, String Too Short to Be Saved, and the children's stories Ox-Cart Man and When Willard Met Babe Ruth. From 1984 to 1989, he served as New Hampshire's poet laureate, and in 2006, the Library of Congress appointed him the nation's poet laureate. Donald Hall's latest book of poetry, White Apples and the Taste of Stone, was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2006. His 2007 book Eagle Farm (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin) brings together all of his writing on Eagle Pond Farm, the ancestral home in Wilmot, New Hampshire, where Hall has lived for more than 30 years.
The Del McCoury Band
When Del McCoury was growing up in York County, Pennsylvania, he learned music from his mother, Hazel, a church organist. And he never missed a chance to tune in to the Grand Ole Opry. But when his older brother bought a 78-rpm record of Flatt and Scruggs, that sealed the deal. Del started playing bluegrass and, a half-century later, he has never looked back. The Del McCoury Band has won nearly every award Bluegrass has to offer, including a Grammy for their 2005 CD, The Company We Keep. Their latest release is an all-gospel album titled The Promised Land (McCoury Music). The band: Del McCoury, guitar; Ronnie McCoury, mandolin; Rob McCoury, banjo; Jason Carter, fiddle; Alan Bartram, bass.
Inga Swearingen always loved singing, whether it was with her elementary school choir in San Luis Obispo, California, or performing her own songs in high school, or during her years of voice lessons. But it may have been joining a jazz choir while pursuing her education at Cuesta College that sealed her decision to be a jazz singer. In 2003, after studying with Swiss artist Susanne Abbuehl, she won the Shure Jazz Voice competition at the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival. She earned a master's degree in choral conducting from Florida State University, then returned to California, where she now performs, works on recording projects, and teaches at Cuesta College—her old alma mater. Reverie, her latest CD, is on the Rhythome label.
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) .
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).