During her childhood in Aledo, Illinois, Suzy Bogguss loved music. She joined the church choir, played the piano and drums, and bought her first 12-string with the money she earned from babysitting. She moved to Nashville in the mid-'80s and paid the bills by singing demos by day and performing three nights a week at a local rib joint. More than a dozen albums and many awards later, Suzy has won acclaim in both country and contemporary music circles. Her latest CD, American Folk Songbook (Loyal Dutchess Records), is also available in book form, with sheet music, stories, and personal anecdotes.
As a child, Stuart Duncan hung out in the Escondido, California, folk club where his father was the soundman. He was inspired by the music of Vassar Clements, Byron Berline, and others. At age seven, he took up playing fiddle. Now, more than four decades later, he has chalked up a career that includes being named the International Bluegrass Music Association's Fiddle Player of the Year nine times. He was a founding member of the Nashville Bluegrass Band and is perennially one of Nashville's most sought-after session musicians. This year, The Goat Rodeo Sessions (Sony Classical) — Stuart's recording with Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile — won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.
The Time Jumpers
What happens when a bunch of stellar studio musicians decide to spend some spare time together drinking beer and jamming? The Time Jumpers, that's what. Since the Nashville-based group's informal beginnings in 1998, they have released two recordings: 2007's Jumpin' Time and 2012's The Time Jumpers (Rounder). This Western swing ensemble has also amassed Grammy nominations, awards from the Association of Western Artists and the Western Music Association, and a big following. The Time Jumpers' current lineup is: Brad Albin (bass), Larry Franklin (fiddle), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Vince Gill (vocals, guitar), Andy Reiss (guitar), Dawn Sears (vocals), Kenny Sears (vocals, fiddle), Joe Spivey (fiddle), Jeff Taylor (accordion), and Billy Thomas (drums).
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).
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.
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.
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).