Saturday, September 5, 2009
Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
When Doyle Lawson was growing up in East Tennessee, he'd look forward to Saturday nights when the Grand Ole Opry was on the air and he could hear the likes of Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. At age 11, he taught himself to play the mandolin, and still in his teens, he got a job playing banjo with Jimmy Martin. After stints with J.D. Crowe and The Country Gentlemen, he started his own band in 1979. The group has earned multiple Grammy nominations and innumerable International Bluegrass Music Association awards, including IBMA's 2007 Vocal Group of the Year and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year. Their most recent recording is Lonely Street, which came out last year on Rounder Records.
Mindy Smith grew up in Smithtown, Long Island. Her dad was a minister, Her mom was an accomplished singer who led the church choir — and who always encouraged Mindy to follow her interest in music. While she was in college in Cincinnati, Mindy wrote songs and sang in a band. Finally, she decided to make a go of it in Nashville. She arrived with $300 in her pocket and a whole lot of determination. A few years later, she won first prize in the Tin Pan South songwriting contest of 2000. That led to a staff position at the publishing company Big Yellow Dog Music, which allowed her to earn a living writing songs for other people. Mindy’s career really took off after she sang the song "Jolene" for a Dolly Parton tribute album in 2003. The next year, she released her debut album, One Moment More. And she followed that with a CD called Long Island Shores. Mindy is also a gifted painter. She is a bold colorist who does expressive, figurative works. Her latest recording is titled Stupid Love. It was released last month on the Vanguard label.
Andra Suchy spent her childhood on a farm near Mandan, North Dakota, the daughter of two talented singers. By the time she was in grade school, she was traveling around, doing concerts and festivals with her family. These days, she sings with several groups in the Twin Cities area including the all-girl trio The Dollys. She also works as a back-up singer and as a jingle singer on commercials for White Castle, Target, and more. Andra's solo CD is called Patchwork Story.
Mandolinist Peter Ostroushko grew up listening to tunes played at family get-togethers in the Ukrainian community of northeast Minneapolis. It's the music that provides the basis for many of his compositions. His first recording session was an uncredited mandolin set on Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. Since then, his works have been performed by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, among others. Peter's recent CDs include Postcards: Travels with a Great American Radio Show (Red House) and Peter Joins the Circus (Borderland), a collection of Peter's original and arranged music for Circus Juventas, a circus arts school in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band
Richard Dworsky, who week in and week out leads A Prairie Home Companion's Guy's All-Star Shoe Band, is a classically trained pianist and composer who rocks, swings, plays great blues and gospel, tears it up on Hammond B3 organ, and keeps up with world-class pickers playing his unique "bluegrass piano" style. He writes all APHC's script themes and underscores, and during his 16-year stint, he has accompanied guests from James Taylor to Renée Fleming. His latest CD is So Near and Dear to Me (Prairie Home Productions).
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).