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From the time he was a kid in Belleville, Illinois, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy was consumed with music. In the late 1980s, he and his pal Jay Farrar started the seminal alt-country band Uncle Tupelo. After that group split up, Jeff and Uncle Tupelo bassist John Stirratt formed Wilco. Since then, this Chicago-based rock band has amassed a huge following and turned out a stack of innovative albums, including two-time Grammy-winning A Ghost is Born. Their latest CD, Wilco (the Album), came out this past summer on the Nonesuch label. Wilco is: Jeff Tweedy (guitar, vocals), Nels Cline (guitar), Pat Sansone (keyboards, guitar), Mike Jorgensen (keyboards), John Stirratt (bass), and Glenn Kotche (percussion).
As a youngster in Kentucky, Patty Loveless listened to the Grand Ole Opry, and she wrote songs and sang with various ones of her six siblings. After high school, she headed for Nashville and became a member of the Wilburn Brothers band. She released her first solo recording in 1987 and now has dozens of albums to her credit. These days, Patty and her husband, producer Emery Gordy Jr., make their home in Georgia in a small town northwest of Atlanta. Her 2008 CD Sleepless Nights: The Traditional Country Soul of Patty Loveless received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album. Her latest recording, Mountain Soul II, was released last week on Saguaro Road Records.
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).
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.
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).