As a youngster in Kentucky, Patty Loveless listened to the Grand Ole Opry, and 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 dozens of 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 2008 CD Sleepless Nights: The Traditional Country Soul of Patty Loveless received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album. Her latest recording, Mountain Soul II, was released last week on Saguaro Road Records.
From the time he was a kid in Belleville, Illinois, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy was consumed with music. In the late 1980s, he and his pal Jay Farrar started the seminal alt-country band Uncle Tupelo. After that group split up, Jeff and Uncle Tupelo bassist John Stirratt formed Wilco. Since then, this Chicago-based rock band has amassed a huge following and turned out a stack of innovative albums, including two-time Grammy-winning A Ghost is Born. Their latest CD, Wilco (the Album), came out this past summer on the Nonesuch label. Wilco is: Jeff Tweedy (guitar, vocals), Nels Cline (guitar), Pat Sansone (keyboards, guitar), Mike Jorgensen (keyboards), John Stirratt (bass), and Glenn Kotche (percussion).
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.
Is that water dripping? Footsteps coming this way? Car tires spinning on an icy driveway? Nope — it's sound effects wizard Tom Keith. With vocal gymnastics and a variety of props, Tom has worked his magic on A Prairie Home Companion since the mid-1970s.
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).