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BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet
During a New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Bob Dylan was asked what he thought of BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet. Dylan replied, "That's my kind of music!" Lots of folks could say the same. The band — Michael Doucet, David Doucet, Billy Ware, Tommy Alesi, Jimmy Breaux and Mitch Reed — has spent 30-plus years dedicated to preserving the Cajun style, and blending elements of zydeco, New Orleans jazz, Tex-Mex, and more into a tasty musical mix. Alligator Purse (Yep Roc Records) is the latest of their 29 albums.
Francine Roche and Mark Stillman
Chanteuse Francine Roche and accordionist Mark Stillman have become favorites in the Twin Cities and beyond. Roche, who grew up in the Laurentides, north of Montreal, and finally settled in Minneapolis, has built a successful career on her interpretations of French classics — and especially the music of Edith Piaf. Stillman started out as a classical percussionist. Then accordion captured his attention. He now specializes in international music Russian, Italian, Scandinavian, South American, French, and much more. Mark is featured on Francine’s albums Déjà Vu and Joyeux Noël.
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).