Hailing from Winnipeg and Montreal, vocal quintet Chic Gamine first got together five years ago. Since then, their fresh new sound — Motown to French pop — has captivated music lovers and earned the group a Juno Award for their self-titled debut album. Their second CD, City City, came out in 2010, and their first official U.S. release is due out later this year. Chic Gamine is Alexa Dirks, Andrina Turenne, Annick Brémault, Ariane Jean, and Sacha Daoud.
Chris Thile made his first appearance on A Prairie Home Companion in 1996. He was 15 and had already been playing mandolin for a decade. He'd also started Nickel Creek with Sara and Sean Watkins. This Grammy winner and MacArthur "genius" grant recipient now leads Punch Brothers, an acoustic quintet whose recordings include 2012's Ahoy! and Who's Feeling Young Now? Thile's brand-new solo album is Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1 (Nonesuch).
Since forming almost 25 years ago, Väsen has become Sweden's leading acoustic trio, spreading their exciting brand of instrumental tunes to far-flung corners of the globe. As one reviewer quipped, "This music could be the most significant Swedish export since the Vikings." With Olov Johansson on nyckelharpa, Mikael Marin on viola, and Roger Tallroth on guitar, the group released their 15th album, Mindset, last January on the NorthSide label.
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 O, What A Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound (Grove Press), 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."
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.