Mike Compton and Joe Newberry
As a reviewer in Bluegrass Today magazine put it: "There are powerful people in every walk of life. Mike Compton is the General George Patton of the mandolin." Joe Newberry is known for his powerful banjo work, in addition to being a prizewinning guitarist, fiddler, and singer. Together, these two effortlessly move from traditional songs to contemporary instrumentals, from classic "mother" ballads to original compositions. Live, the duo's debut recording, mines the brother duet music of the 1930s and '40s.
The Nightingale Trio
The Nightingale Trio is Nila Bala, Rachel LaViola, and Sarah Larsson, who met as university students performing with the Yale Women's Slavic Chorus. After finishing their degrees — in law, film, and anthropology — the three reunited to sing folk songs that have spanned centuries of Slavic culture, music rich in stunning dissonances, asymmetric rhythms, and intricate ornamentation. Letya is the trio's first album.
Rhonda Vincent and the Rage
Rhonda Vincent was barely five years old when she began performing with her family band, the Sally Mountain Show. She's been in the spotlight ever since. Named Female Vocalist of the Year seven times by the International Bluegrass Music Association, this ace mandolinist has dozens of albums to her credit, including her latest, Only Me, brand-new on the Upper Management label. The Rage is: Hunter Berry (fiddle), Brent Burke (Dobro), Mickey Harris (bass), Aaron McDaris (banjo), and Josh Williams (guitar).
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
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).
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.
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.
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).