As a kid in Tulsa in the 1950s, 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. A founding member of the groundbreaking Paul Butterfield Blues Band, he went solo in 1968, moved to the Bay Area, and continued a music career that's now into its fifth decade. His twenty-some recordings include She Puts Me in the Mood (Blues Boulevard) and a live-in-concert DVD, That's My Thing (Delta Groove). Band: Bobby Cochran, (drums), Ruth Davies (bass), Steve Willis (keyboard), Ed Earley (trombone), Bob Welsh (guitar).
Fiddler, singer, and songwriter Laurie Lewis grew up in Berkeley, California, and began playing violin as a child. It was at the Berkeley Folk Festivals of the 1960s that she first caught the folk bug. And while she drifted away from the music after her high school days, she always kept her fiddle stashed under the bed. A prudent move. In her early 20s, she discovered the Bay Area bluegrass scene and realized that music would be her life's work. In the mid-1970s, she helped found the Good Ol' Persons, an all-female ensemble, and she went on to form the Grant Street String Band, Blue Rose, and the Right Hands. Her latest CD is 2011's Skippin' and Flyin' (Spruce and Maple Music), a tribute to Father of Bluegrass Bill Monroe. Mandolinist Tom Rozum, Laurie's longtime collaborator, joins her for today's show.
Michael Tilson Thomas
Since 1995, Michael Tilson Thomas has been Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony. He is also Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Born in Los Angeles, he is the third generation of his family to follow an artistic career. His grandparents, Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky, were founding members of the Yiddish Theater in America. His father, Ted Thomas, was a producer in the Mercury Theater Company in New York before moving to Los Angeles where he worked in films and television. And his mother, Roberta Thomas, was the head of research for Columbia Pictures. A 10-time Grammy winner, he is also a recipient of the Peabody Award and a Chevalier dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France. In 2010, President Obama awarded him with the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the United States Government.
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.
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).