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When she was 18, Rosanne Cash's father, the legendary Johnny Cash, gave her a list: 100 Essential Country Songs. These are the songs she turned to when creating her new recording, The List (Manhattan Records). "It is deeply thrilling and very emotional for me to claim this legacy in this way," she says, "and, after a lifetime as a songwriter, to showcase some essential and truly great songs as a singer, an archivist, and as a daughter. And mother. This list now goes to my children." Not only a Grammy-winning singer and songwriter, Rosanne Cash is also the author of two books, and her essays and fiction have appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and other periodicals and collections.
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, often with her band the Wailin' Jennys. In 2009, while the Jennys took a break from touring, Heather kept busy with other projects, like performing 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. Heather's new solo CD is titled Bird Song (Red House Records). The Jennys' latest is The Wailin' Jennys —Live (Red House).
VIOLINS: Helen Chang, Nancy Oliveros, Ray Shows, Leslie Shank. VIOLAS: Susan Janda, Annalee Wolf. CELLOS: Laura Sewell, Anna Clift. DOUBLE BASS: Dave Berg.
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.
Andy Stein (violin, saxophone) definitely has far-flung musical leanings. He collaborated with Garrison Keillor to create the opera Mr. and Mrs. Olson, and he has performed with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Eric Clapton, Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan.
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).