Special Guests
Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lee Atkinson and Sarah Atkinson

Mother/daughter duo Lee Atkinson and Sarah Atkinson are lifelong residents of North Carolina. Lee lives in Greensboro with her husband, John; daughter Sarah and her husband, Grant, make their home in Asheville. Mom and daughter love to sing together — just ask, and you'll get a musical earful. Sarah says she remembers growing up with her siblings, rocking on the back porch on Saturday nights, singing along with Garrison Keillor and his guests on A Prairie Home Companion.

Elizabeth Brown and Connie Renda

Brooklyn duo Elizabeth Brown and Connie Renda have lots in common, from Italian families to a love of close harmonies. Connie, from York, Pennsylvania, has been singing professionally since she was 12. After earning a B.F.A., she moved to New York City to pursue a singing and acting career. Elizabeth grew up in Northport, New York, where her mom taught her to sing harmony to songs on the radio. Following college, she joined her brotherís pop/punk band, Wheatus, where she met Connie.

Mood Indigo

Mood Indigo is Susan Elliott and Joe Romano. Susan is a studio singer, who has recorded commercial spots for Mobil Oil and other companies. She is also an accomplished stage actress and dancer. Joe is music director for the Texas Theatre Foundation and has been a contributing songwriter for Sesame Street since 1978. As Mood Indigo, these Houston, Texas, natives are noted for their unique arrangements of classic and contemporary jazz melodies accompanied by guitar, harmonica and hand percussion.

Red Heart the Ticker

Red Heart the Ticker is the husband-and-wife duo Robin MacArthur and Tyler Gibbons. The Marlboro, Vermont, couple began playing music together after they built themselves a no-frills cabin in the woods. As the long cold months of winter dragged on, they turned to music to keep themselves from going batty with cabin fever. These days, they live with their daughter, Avah, in a small house — this one with running water. Their new record, Oh My! Mountains Below (Auger Down), will be released next month.

Nathan and Noah Rickertsen

Nathan and Noah Rickertsen are a father/son duo from Cedar Rapids and Monona, Iowa. Noah, 16, sings in his high school show choir, plays guitar in the church band, and spends his spare time writing and recording his own music. Nathan, an occupational therapist, started acting and singing in musicals when he was in high school and then went on to compete internationally in barbershop quartets, in addition to taking roles in community theater. Nathan and Noah perform at local venues under the name Take 2.

Anne and Pete Sibley

Husband-and-wife duo Anne and Pete Sibley are from Jackson, Wyoming, although the two grew up in neighboring New England towns. They finally met as sophomores in high school, where both sang in the choir. Back then, their interests centered on pop songs and show tunes. It was only after they moved out West that they discovered traditional music. They love the simplicity of the style, the storytelling, the harmonies — evident in their singing and songwriting. Their fifth album is titled Coming Home.

Erica Rhodes

Erica Rhodes starred in the indie horror film Plague Town, which has shown in festivals nationwide and will be in theaters next month. She also has a lead role in Go West, scheduled for summer release. In addition to acting, Erica plays rock cello with two bands, and she is studying comedy at the Groundlings School. She currently makes her home in Los Angeles.

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.

Chet Atkins called Pat Donohue (guitar) one of the greatest finger pickers in the world today. And he writes songs too — recorded by Suzy Bogguss, Kenny Rogers and others. Freewayman (Bluesky Records) is the most recent of Pat's nine albums.

Gary Raynor (bass) has performed with the Count Basie band, Sammy Davis Jr. — with whom he toured for several years — and the Minnesota Klezmer Band. He teaches jazz bass at the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul.

Peter Johnson (percussion) has played klezmer music with Doc Severinsen and jazz with Dave Brubeck. He was a drummer for The Manhattan Transfer and for Gene Pitney. He has toured the world, but he always comes back to home base: Saint Paul.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

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).

Available now»

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