Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell
Emmylou Harris first heard Rodney Crowell almost 40 years ago, and his song "Bluebird Wine" became the opening track of her 1975 album, Pieces of the Sky. Rodney went on to play guitar in Emmylou's legendary Hot Band. Separately, the two have dozens of acclaimed recordings and countless awards. And now these Grammy-winning artists — and longtime pals — have teamed up again with their just-released collaboration, Old Yellow Moon (Nonesuch).
Heather Masse and Jed Wilson
Heather Masse is a one-third of the Canadian trio The Wailin' Jennys. This year, she also joined forces with piano legend Dick Hyman to release Lock My Heart (Red House), a mix of Heather's originals and Tin Pan Alley classics. Even in his teens, Jed Wilson was active on the Portland, Oregon, jazz scene. Since earning a degree from New England Conservatory, he has collaborated with a number of artists. Recently, he has performed extensively with Heather Masse.
Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele
Growing up in Indiana, Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele sang with their siblings as The Steele Children. One by one, they moved to Minnesota and started singing together again; music has become the family business. Jearlyn also hosts Steele Talkin', a Sunday-night radio show on WCCO, Minneapolis. Her most recent solo CD is Jearlyn Steele Sings Songs from A Prairie Home Companion. Jevetta's performance of "Calling You," from the film Baghdad Café, was nominated for an Academy Award. Her solo albums include 2006's My Heart.
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.
Saxophonist Kenni Holmen is a member of The Hornheads, a Twin Cities horn ensemble, and one of the area's most active recording and touring musicians. He has performed or recorded with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Glen Miller Orchestra, Gladys Knight, and the Reverend Billy Graham, to name a few.
Trombonist Michael B. Nelson is the leader, arranger, and trombonist for the top-flight Twin Cities horn ensemble The Hornheads. In addition to performing with the likes of Doc Severinsen, Chaka Khan, and Lenny Kravitz, he has composed and arranged for Prince and other international artists.
Trumpeter Steve Strand has done commercial jingles for the Minnesota Twins, Macy's, ESPN, and the Minnesota Wild. More visibly, he is a member of Twin Cities horn ensemble The Hornheads. He has toured and/or recorded with Prince, Chaka Kahn, and many others.
Originally from Cloquet, Minnesota, pedal steel player Joe Savage made his way to Minneapolis in the 1980s. These days, he is a fixture on the Twin Cities music scene, performing with a number of artists in addition to keeping up his work as a studio musician. Joe Savage Plays Country (Lilly Ray Records) is his latest CD.
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."
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).