Louis Jenkins' poetry has appeared in numerous literary magazines and in anthologies such as Great American Prose Poems (Scribner). His books include An Almost Human Gesture, North of the Cities, Before You Know It, and Tin Flag: New and Selected Prose Poems, just published by Will o' the Wisp Books. With Mark Rylance, he cowrote the play Nice Fish, based on his poems. The production had its premiere earlier this year at the Guthrie Theater. Born in Oklahoma, Louis Jenkins has made his home in Duluth, Minnesota, for decades.
When Sonny Johnson was 13, he asked his father to show him a few chords on guitar. Before long, he was taking lessons and performing with his dad in the small church the family attended. Now, people across northern Minnesota and beyond hear this Bemidji-based singer and songwriter at his solo concerts and festival appearances. His first album, Follow the Fox, will be released soon.
Folks around Akeley, Minnesota, know vocalist Diane Sauer from her many summers in the house band of the Woodtick Musical Theater. During the school year, you'll find her at Laporte School, where she serves as the Community Education director and teaches music. In Diane's classroom, the students may be treated to Vivaldi one day, Flatt & Scruggs the next. Lucky kids.
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).
Keyboardist, composer, and arranger Richard Dworsky is music director for A Prairie Home Companion. He has also accompanied Garrison Keillor on U.S. and European concert tours and has collaborated with numerous other performers, including Al Jarreau and singer/actress Kristin Chenoweth. Among his many CDs is So Near and Dear to Me (Prairie Home Productions).
When Richard Kriehn turned 10, his mom bought him a mandolin; at 19, he'd won the Buck White International Mandolin Contest. He went on to play with the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble and bluegrass group 1946. On the classical side, he has performed with numerous orchestras and was principal second violin for the Washington/Idaho Symphony.
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.
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).