Fitzgerald Theater, Saint Paul, MN«archive page
Singer, songwriter, fiddle player Sara Watkins was only eight when she, her brother Sean, and Chris Thile started Nickel Creek. The Grammy Award–winning acoustic trio spent nearly two decades winning fans with their innovative, genre-bending style before calling an indefinite hiatus a few years ago. Now Sara has struck out on her own. And while she had been thinking for some time about a solo recording project, the idea became reality in the spring of 2009 when she released her first album, Sara Watkins (Nonesuch). Sean Watkins joins Sara for tonight’s performance.
While Tom Brosseau was growing up in a music-filled household in Grand Forks, North Dakota, his grandmother taught him how to play the guitar and his grandfather supplied further influence with stacks of record albums by the likes of Guy Lombardo and the Ink Spots. They launched him well. Now based in Southern California, this guitarist-singer-songwriter has a stack of his own solo albums to his credit. The latest is Posthumous Success (FatCat Records).
Life is full of twists and turns. Clawhammer banjo player Abigail Washburn can attest to that. She had intended to study law in Beijing, and while a trip to Tennessee to learn more about banjo styles and history derailed that plan, she wound up creating music that intertwines Eastern and Western culture. Her 2008 CD, Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet, merged American and Chinese folk. A brand-new recording, City of Refuge (Rounder), blends traditional old-time with a generous splash of indie-pop. The band: Rayna Gellert, fiddle; multi-instrumentalist Kai Welch; Alana Rocklin, bass; Jamie Dick, drums.
One minute he's mild-mannered Tim Russell; the next he's George Bush or Julia Child or Barack Obama. We've yet to stump this man of many voices. In other roles, Tim played the part of Al, the stage manager, in the Robert Altman film A Prairie Home Companion and a detective in the Coen brothers' A Serious Man.
On APHC, Sue Scott plays everything from ditzy teenagers to Guy Noir stunners to leathery crones who've smoked one pack of Camel straights too many. The Tucson, Arizona, native is well known for her extensive commercial and voice-over work on radio and television, as well as movie and stage roles.
Is that water dripping? Footsteps coming this way? Car tires spinning on an icy driveway? Nope — it's sound effects wizard Tom Keith. With vocal gymnastics and a variety of props, Tom has worked his magic on APHC since the mid-1970s. Starting out as a board operator at Minnesota Public Radio, Tom never expected that his career would take such a turn.
Garrison Keillor was born in Anoka, graduated from the University of Minnesota ('66), and lives in St. Paul. He is the author of numerous books, including his latest, Life Among the Lutherans (Augsburg Books) and Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance (Viking).
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. Keyboard player, composer and improviser in any style, he also writes all the script themes and underscores. His latest CD is So Near and Dear to Me.
Chet Atkins called Pat Donohue (guitar) one of the greatest fingerpickers 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.
Richard Kriehn is principal second violin for the Washington/Idaho Symphony. But it's not all classical all the time; he is equally at home playing bluegrass fiddle and mandolin. He was a member of the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble and the bluegrass group 1946.
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).