The Carper Family
The Carper Family — Melissa Carper (bass), Beth Chrisman (fiddle), and Jenn Miori (guitar) — may not be blood kin, but this Austin-based trio bypasses the gene pool and creates a sister-worthy blend when applying their three-part harmony to bluegrass, old-time, country, and swing tunes. Since forming in 2010, the Carper Family has amassed fans across Texas and across the country. They've released three albums, most recently, 2013's Old-Fashioned Gal.
Songwriter and vocalist Aoife O'Donovan grew up in a musical family in Newton, Massachusetts. In her teens, she took an interest in the American folk tradition, and she spent her summers in Ireland, studying music and dance. After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music, she formed the progressive bluegrass band Crooked Still and the trio Sometymes Why. Her debut solo album, Fossils, was released earlier this year on the Yep Roc label.
Los Texmaniacs take traditional conjunto sounds to another level, mixing in blues, R&B, and Texas rock. Max Baca, who founded the Grammy-winning group in 1997, calls it "hip music that everybody in the world can relate to." True enough; just ask audiences from San Antonio to Spain, Austin to Afghanistan. Their latest album is Texas Towns & Tex-Mex Sounds (Smithsonian Folkways). The band: Max Baca, bajo sexto; Joshua Baca, accordion and harmonica; Noel Hernandez, bass; Lorenzo Martinez, drums.
Raised in the Dallas area, Joy Tipping is now an arts writer and copy editor for The Dallas Morning News, where she has worked — off and on — since 1996. For the paper's Guide section, she reviews books and, on occasion, music, theater and movies. Her work has also appeared in many of the country's major newspapers and magazines. Joy is the author of two literary travel books — Haunted City, about New Orleans, and Scarlett Slept Here: A Book Lover's Guide to the South.
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.
Guitarist Dean Magraw studied at the University of Minnesota and the Berklee School of Music in Boston. His first recording, 1994's Broken Silence, won the NAIRD award for Best Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year. Dean has since turned out a bunch of dazzling albums, including his latest, Reservoir (Acoustic Music Records), a collaboration with Sándor Szabó.
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).