Charles Overton, who hails from Richmond, Virginia, served as principal harpist for the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra. He has studied the harp for seven years, and he just completed his second year at Interlochen Arts Academy. A finalist for the 2010-2011 Interlochen Concerto Competition, he also placed fourth in the 2010 Young Artist Harp Competition. Charles hopes to major in harp performance at a music conservatory.
Yuri Popowycz began his music studies when he was just five. The Madison, Wisconsin-raised violinist recently completed his senior year at Interlochen Arts Academy, where he held the concertmaster position in the Academy's orchestra. He was also principal second violin in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's Rising Stars concert series. This fall, Yuri will attend the Oberlin Conservatory. At the piano: Steve Larson.
Calling themselves Storyhill, acoustic duo Chris Cunningham and John Hermanson are longtime musical collaborators, dating back to high school days in Bozeman, Montana. Their 2007 album — simply titled Storyhill — was named Best CD of the Year by the Indie Acoustic Project and led to their winning the prestigious Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Competition. Their latest recording is Shade of the Trees (Red House Records).
Robin & Linda Williams
For decades, Robin and Linda Williams have spent the lion's share of their time on the road, charming audiences worldwide. They first showcased their robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time, and acoustic country on A Prairie Home Companion in 1975, the same year they recorded their first album. In 2008, they released their 20th, Buena Vista (Red House). A new CD — songs from Stonewall Country, their musical about Stonewall Jackson — is due out next month on Red House Records.
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 Life Among the Lutherans (Augsburg Books) and Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance (Viking), and the editor of several anthologies of poetry, including Good Poems: American Places (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. Nobody's Fault (Bluesky Records) is the most recent of Pat's 10 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) has far-flung musical leanings: He was a founding member of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen; he collaborated with Garrison Keillor to create the opera Mr. and Mrs. Olson; and he has recorded with dozens of artists, from Itzhak Perlman to Nellie McKay.
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.
Sound effects man Fred Newman is an actor, writer, musician, and sound designer for film and TV. He is author of the book (and CD/CD-ROM) MouthSounds. Fred admits that, growing up, he was unceremoniously removed from several classrooms, "once by my bottom lip."
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).