January 16, 2010
War Memorial Opera House

San Francisco, CA

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Elvin Bishop

Growing up in Tulsa in the 1950s, guitarist Elvin Bishop could — if the conditions were just right — pick up Nashville radio station WLAC. He was captivated by the piercing harmonica sounds of Jimmy Reed coming over the airwaves. The blues cast a spell on him — one that has never lifted. He went off to college in Chicago and became a founding member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. In 1968, he went solo and moved to the San Francisco area. The latest of his twenty-some albums are the Grammy-nominated The Blues Rolls On (Delta Groove Music) and Chicago Blues Buddies, featuring his musical mentor Chicago guitaristĀ Little Smokey Smothers. TrombonistĀ Ed Earley joins Bishop for today's show.

Chanticleer

Chanticleer, under the direction of Matthew D. Oltman, is the San Francisco-based, Grammy Award-winning "orchestra of voices" that has been winning praise around the globe since 1978. Named for the "clear-singing" rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the group was called "the world's reigning male chorus" by The New Yorker magazine and honored as 2008 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America. Their 2009&##150;2010 season takes them across the U.S. and Europe. The Best of Chanticleer, the most recent of their dozens of recordings, was released last year on Rhino Records.

Jean Redpath

The Edinburgh Evening News may have put it best: "To call Jean Redpath a Scottish folk singer is a bit like calling Michelangelo an Italian interior decorator." Indeed, this song collector, vocalist and M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire) is a pivotal figure in traditional music. She arrived in the U.S. in 1961, fresh out of university with $11 in her pocket. A hootenanny appearance at Gerdes Folk City led to bookings and a rave review in The New York Times. Now, 40 albums and thousands of performances later, Redpath is still exploring the wealth of Scottish oral tradition, and she continues to win raves from fans worldwide. Her latest CD is By Request (Jean Redpath Records).

Frederica von Stade

Since her 1970 debut with the Metropolitan Opera, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade has appeared with every leading American opera company and throughout Europe from Teatro alla Scala and Royal Opera Covent Garden to the Vienna State Opera and the Paris Opera. She has made more than 70 recordings, including Songs of the Cat (HighBridge), a collaboration with Garrison Keillor. In addition to her six Grammy nominations, two Grand Prix du Disc awards, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, and Italy's Premio della Critica Discografica, she was appointed as an officer of L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France's highest honor in the arts. Nicole Rodriguez joins von Stade for today's performance. James Meredith is at the piano.

The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band

The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band is led by A Prairie Home Companion music director Richard Dworsky. A masterful keyboard player, composer, and improviser in any style, he writes all the script themes and underscores, and he has accompanied guests from James Taylor to Renée Fleming. His latest CD is So Near and Dear to Me.

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.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

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).

Available now»

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