Saturday, January 24, 2009
Joe Ely and Joel Guzmán
Joe Ely left West Texas as a teenager in the late '60s. As he puts it, "I followed Woody Guthrie west and the blues guys down south; was on the West Coast during all the big hippie days." After living in Europe for a while, he returned to Texas. "I always knew the best musicians were in Lubbock," he says. His work with the Flatlanders (Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock) includes Wheels of Fortune (New West Records). Accordionist Joel Guzmán was performing with his father's band before he had even started school "El Pequeño Gigante" ("The Little Giant") they called him. Now an in-demand instrumentalist, singer and producer, he is known for fusing traditional Mexican music with other genres. Live Cactus! Ely and Guzmán's most recent CD was released last year on Rack 'Em Records.
Heather Masse grew up in rural Maine and currently makes her home in New York. She has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion a number of times, usually with her band the Wailin' Jennys. Now, while the Jennys take a break from touring, Heather is keeping busy with other projects. She performs regularly with her Brooklyn-based outfit, Heather and the Barbarians a group that first formed when the members were students at the New England Conservatory of Music. Their album Tell Me Tonight was released in 2007. Look for a solo recording from Heather sometime in 2009.
Jennifer and Blake Freking
Jennifer Freking has been training and racing sled dogs since she was 9. She began racing her dogs in Junior 3 dog class at North Star Sled Dog Club races in 1990. She ran her first mid-distance event in 1994 and loved the silence and beauty of the longer trails. She has competed in the Jr. Iditarod, Ship Ahoy 100, Sheep Creek Christmas Classic, Beargrease Recreational Class, the Mid-Minnesota Sled Dog Race, the Elton, WI 80, and The Flute Reed Challenge.
Guy's All-Star Shoe Band
The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band is led by A Prairie Home Companion music director Richard Dworsky. A masterful keyboard player, composer and improviser in any style, he writes all the script themes and underscores, and he has accompanied guests from James Taylor to Renée Fleming. His latest CD is So Near and Dear to Me.
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).