The Bacon Brothers
The Bacon Brothers, Michael and Kevin, grew up in Philadelphia with their four sisters in a home filled with music. Michael became an award-winning composer for film and television; Kevin went on to a prolific stage and screen career. But there's something about singing with your sibling. In 1995, the two formed a band. Now, they tour frequently and have released seven albums to date. The most recent is their 2011 compilation, Philadelphia Road: The Best of the Bacon Brothers (Soulfood). The band: Paul Guzzone (bass), Joe Mennonna (keys), Ira Siegel (guitar), Frank Vilardi (drums).
Peter Schickele and the Semi-Pro Musica Antiqua
Versatile — that's one way to describe Peter Schickele. He is a composer, musician, author, satirist, and the mastermind behind the compositions of P.D.Q. Bach, whose "illustrious father gave him no training in music whatsoever." Born in Ames, Iowa, and brought up in Washington, D.C., and Fargo, North Dakota, he earned music degrees from Swarthmore and the Juilliard School, where he later taught. He has written more than 100 pieces for symphony orchestras, choral groups, chamber ensembles, voice, movies, and television. And his works have been recorded on numerous albums, including 2011's A Year in the Catskills (Naxos). The Semi-Pro Musica Antiqua: Brian Dougherty (tenor), Michèle Eaton (soprano), Diva Goodfriend-Koven (piccolo), John Moses (E-flat clarinet), Melanie Feld (English horn), Andy Stein (baritone sax), Daniel Hane (contrabassoon).
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 and Vicksburg Blues (a collaboration with Butch Thompson) are the most recent of Pat's 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.
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.
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.
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."
Massachusetts-born, LA-based Erica Rhodes is known to many for her starring role in the popular Web series "Upstairs Girls," which posted more than 200 webisodes. She has also appeared in motion pictures, including Go West, Javatown, and the 2008 indie horror film Plague Town. These days, Erica performs her stand-up comedy in clubs across the country.
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).