Sam Bush made his recording debut in 1969 at the age of 17 with Poor Richard's Almanac. He had already held the title of National Junior Fiddle Champion for three consecutive years. Two years later, Bush founded New Grass Revival, a band that spent 18 years challenging preconceived notions of traditional bluegrass instruments by fusing a wide range of styles that included gospel, rock, pop, reggae, jazz, country, and bluegrass. In 1989, after releasing ten albums, NGR disbanded. Bush went on to lead Emmylou Harris' Nash Ramblers for five years, and has since toured with Bela Fleck & The Flecktones and Lyle Lovett. He released his first solo project, Late As Usual (Rounder Records), in 1987, and has since recorded Glamour & Grits and Howlin' at the Moon, both on Sugar Hill Records. Bush has also played mandolin, fiddle, and guitar on recordings with Leon Russell, Doc Watson, Steve Earle, Garth Brooks, Steve Wariner, Trisha Yearwood, and Pam Tillis, among others. He is also featured on Short Trip Home (Sony Classics) with classical artists Joshua Bell and Edgar Meyer. The recording of compositions by Meyer received a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Crossover Album. His latest CD is Ice Caps: Peaks of Telluride (Sugar Hill), released in July of this year. Performing with Bush tonight is his band, made up of Jon Randall on guitar, Byron House on bass, and Sam Bacco on percussion.
Alvin Youngblood Hart
Alvin Youngblood Hart was born in Oakland, California, and was introduced to the blues on summer trips to his grandparents' home in the hills of northern Mississippi. He taught himself to play the guitar and began playing in earnest at age 14. After his parents settled in Schaumburg, Illinois, he began frequenting Maxwell Street in nearby Chicago, where he became known to the regular musicians as "Youngblood." Some time later, Hart signed up with the Coast Guard and was stationed on a river boat in Natchez, Mississippi. There he furthered his blues education by playing in local bars on his off-duty hours. After serving seven years in the Coast Guard, he befriended Joe Louis Walker, who invited Hart to open some of his shows. A year later in 1991, he made his first appearance at the San Francisco Blues Festival. In February 1995, he opened for Taj Mahal at Yoshi's in Oakland. Through contacts he made at the gig, he soon had a record deal, and within a year, he released his first record, Big Mama's Door (Sony). Hart has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe, and appeared on the Furthur Festival and House of Blues Presents national tours. He played electric guitar with the Allman Brothers Band, and supported musicians such as Neil Young, Los Lobos, Richard Thompson, John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy, and Gatemouth Brown. Hart's most recent CD is Start With the Soul (Hannibal Records).
Patty Loveless spent her very early years in eastern Kentucky, but before she hit her teens, the family had moved to Louisville. As a kid, she listened to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio. She wrote songs and sang with various ones of her six siblings. After high school, she headed for Nashville and became a member of the Wilburn Brothers band. She released her first solo recording in 1987 and now has 19 albums to her credit. These days, Patty and her husband, producer Emery Gordy Jr., make their home in Georgia — in a small town northwest of Atlanta. Her latest CD, Sleepless Nights: The Traditional Country Soul of Patty Loveless (Saguaro Road Records), has received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album.
The Memphis Horns
The Memphis Horns, Andrew Love on tenor sax and Wayne Jackson on trumpet, both grew up in Memphis. Jackson got his start in West Memphis playing guitar and singing "Ghost Riders in the Sky," in childhood talent shows, while Love began his career playing "Amazing Grace" in Memphis' Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, where his father was pastor. "Following the dots" in school music class, both learned to play music at night, sitting in with bands at Mid-South nightspots in the '50s. By the early '60s, Jackson was playing with a group called the Royal Spades (later called the Mar-Keys), that recorded for Stax Records. Meanwhile, Love was doing sessions at Hi Records. At Al Jackson's (drummer for Booker T. & the MGs) suggestion, Love brought his sax to Stax, where he met Jackson and found a partner for life. The two appeared on virtually every great Stax single, backing Otis Redding, Carla & Rufus Thomas, Sam & Dave, and a host of others. In 1969, they incorporated as The Memphis Horns, offering their services to anyone whose music needed a shot of Memphis soul. The list of artists with whom they've worked is long and impressive: Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart, The Doobie Brothers, Sting, Joe Cocker, Lenny Kravitz, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, B.B. King, Peter Gabriel, U2, Al Green, Willie Nelson, and many others.
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 Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance, and Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny (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 and Sammy Davis Jr., with whom he toured for several years. He was first call for dozens of touring Broadway shows, including the first presentation of The Lion King. Gary teaches 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.
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.
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).