Saint Paul, MN«archive page
On her way to becoming a singer-songwriter, Neko Case worked in a supermarket meat department, unloaded trucks for UPS, and cooked in restaurants. Lucky for her myriad fans, this former art student settled on a life in music. Many know Case from her work with Canadian indie rock band The New Pornographers, whose members make a guest appearance on her latest album, Middle Cyclone (ANTI- Records). Case now calls rural Vermont home. Parts of Middle Cyclone were recorded in the 18th-century barn that sits on her property.
When Twin Cities jazz singer Connie Evingson was a kid, she loved listening to her dad's record collection Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee. Then she grew up to be a top-flight artist in her own right, known for her work with Moore By Four and her solo appearances on concert and club stages worldwide. She is the creator of Fever, A Tribute to Peggy Lee, which she has performed coast to coast, and a new Peggy Lee show called “Happy with the Blues.” Connie has released eight albums on the Minnehaha Music label. The latest, Little Did I Dream, is a collection of songs by Dave Frishberg.
Jearlyn Steele grew up in Indiana and first sang with her siblings (as The Steele Children). After she left home and moved to Minnesota, one by one the rest of the Steele kids followed. They started singing together again as The Steeles, and now music is the family business. Jearlyn also hosts Steele Talkin', a Sunday-night radio show that originates on WCCO in Minneapolis and is heard in some 30 states nationwide. Jearlyn Steele Sings Songs from A Prairie Home Companion is her most recent CD.
Plans change. Jevetta Steele first moved to the Twin Cities from Gary, Indiana (her childhood home) to become a criminal lawyer. Instead, she and her sister Jearlyn along with their siblings turned to performing. In the 1980s, she toured the world (including Broadway) in the musical The Gospel at Colonus. And many remember her Academy Award-nominated performance of the song “Calling You,” from the film Baghdad Café. She has recorded several solo albums, including My Heart.
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.
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.
Originally from Cloquet, Minnesota, pedal steel player Joe Savage made his way to Minneapolis in the 1980s. These days, he is a fixture on the Twin Cities music scene, performing with a number of artists in addition to keeping up his work as a studio musician.
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).