Roy Blount Jr.
The New York Times Book Review has called Roy Blount Jr. "one of America's wittiest writers." Readers of his articles in The Oxford American, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, Vanity Fair, GQ, National Geographic, Rolling Stone and The New York Times could tell you that. So could fans of his 23 books, including the most recent, Alphabetter Juice: or, The Joy of Text (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). On radio, Roy is a frequent panelist on NPR's news quiz show, Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me.
Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks
Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks are longtime favorites on the New York jazz scene. Bandleader Giordano grew up on Long Island listening to 78s on his grandmother's Victrola. Maybe that's what fueled his passion for tunes of the 1920s and '30s. The band's music from the HBO series Boardwalk Empire has been collected on two albums: Boardwalk Empire Volumes 1 and 2. Vince Giordano (tuba, string bass, bass sax, vocals), Andy Stein (violin, bari sax), Mike Ponella (trumpet), Andy Schumm (trumpet), Jim Fryer (trombone), Dan Block (alto sax, clarinet, soprano sax), Mark Lopeman (tenor sax, clarinet, soprano sax), Will Anderson (alto sax, clarinet), Peter Yarin (piano, celeste), Ken Salvo (banjo, guitar), Paul Wells (percussion).
Growing up in rural Maine, Heather Masse sang hymns and folk songs around home with her family. Now based in New York, this New England Conservatory of Music alum is a one-third of the Juno Award-winning Canadian trio The Wailin' Jennys. Lock My Heart, her recording with piano legend Dick Hyman, came out earlier this year on Red House Records.
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 in June on the Yep Roc 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).
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).
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."
Erica Rhodes is known to many for her role as Sandy in more than 200 webisodes of the popular Web series Upstairs Girls. She has also appeared in motion pictures, including Go West, Javatown, Plague Town, Waiting for Dracula, and Big Sky. Erica produced and starred in the award-winning short film Posey, about a young woman who takes her Alzheimer's-afflicted grandmother to a nursing home.
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).