Saturday, August 30, 2008
Growing up in Aledo, Illinois, Suzy Bogguss loved music. She joined the church choir, played the piano and drums, and bought her first 12-string with the money she earned from babysitting. Now, more than a dozen albums later, and awards ranging from the Academy of Country Music's Top New Female Vocalist of 1989 to a Horizon Award given by the Country Music Association, Suzy has won acclaim in both country and contemporary music circles. Her new CD is Sweet Danger (Loyal Dutchess Records).
In the dozen or so years that Tonic Sol-fa has been together, this Minnesota-based a cappella quartet has earned a national reputation and built a fan base coast to coast. Tenor Greg Bannwarth, bass Jared Dove, lead singer Shaun Johnson, and baritone Mark McGowan now do about 150 concerts a year across the country, but the group began in the mid-1990s at St. John's University, in Collegeville, Minnesota, where McGowan and Johnson were going to school. Soon Bannwarth and Dove signed on. Tonic Sol-fa has now released a half-dozen CDs. Their brand-new recording, Christmas, is a companion to the DVD of their public television holiday special.
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), Joe Savage (steel guitar) and Peter Johnson (percussion). Guests are Michael B. Nelson and Steve Strand.
Michael B. Nelson
Trombonist Michael B. Nelson is the leader, arranger and trombonist for the top-flight Twin Cities horn ensemble The Hornheads. In addition to performing with the likes of Doc Severinsen, Chaka Khan, Lenny Kravitz, Ben Sidran, Sammy Davis Jr., Phil Upchurch and many others, he has composed and arranged for Prince and other international artists. He grew up in Wausau, Wisconsin, where he started playing trombone as a teenager. In 1980, he took a break from college, moved to the Twin Cities, and never looked back.
You may have heard trumpeter Steve Strand playing commercial jingles for the Minnesota Twins, Macy's, ESPN, Holiday Inn Express or the Minnesota Wild. More visibly, he is a member of Twin Cities horn ensemble The Hornheads. With that group, this Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, native has toured and/or recorded with Prince, Phil Upchurch, the Steve Wright Big Band, Peter Ostroushko, Lorie Line, Mandy Moore and others. Back in the 1980s, he backed up visiting headliners as a member of Ray Komischke's State Fair Orchestra.
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).