Singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow has always had music in her life, starting with her childhood in Kennett, Missouri. Her parents did big band work her dad, a lawyer, played trumpet; her mom sang and played piano. After earning a degree in voice and piano from the University of Missouri, Sheryl taught elementary school in the St. Louis area and sang in local clubs. But when she got the chance to do a McDonald's jingle, everything changed. She moved to California, became a backup singer for Michael Jackson, then launched a spectacular solo career with albums like Tuesday Night Music Club which included her smash hit "All I Wanna Do" The Globe Sessions and Wildflower. The latest recording from this nine-time Grammy winner is 2008's Detours (Interscope/A&M Records).
Vocal powerhouse k.d. lang was raised in a small town in Alberta, Canada, the youngest of four kids who all studied classical piano. She started singing when she was five and took up guitar a few years later. By the time she finished college, interest in the singer was growing, and early albums like 1984's Truly Western Experience (Bumstead) drew more attention. Major-label recordings followed, and a 1987 duet with Roy Orbison on his song "Crying" gave k.d. the first of four Grammy Awards. (The others came by way of her song "Constant Craving" and albums Absolute Torch and Twang and A Wonderful World, with Tony Bennett.) These days, the singer/songwriter/producer/arranger makes her home in Los Angeles. Watershed (Nonesuch) is her most recent album.
Heather Masse grew up in rural Maine and currently makes her home in New York. She has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion a number of times, often with her band the Wailin' Jennys. Now, while the Jennys take a break from touring, Heather is keeping busy with other projects. She performs regularly with her Brooklyn-based outfit, Heather and the Barbarians a group that first formed when the members were students at the New England Conservatory of Music. Their album Tell Me Tonight was released in 2007. Heather's solo EP is titled Many Moons (Heather Masse Music). Look for a full-length album from her later this year.
Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, Martin Sheen (born Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez) always wanted to be an actor. His father thought otherwise, but undeterred, Sheen finally borrowed a few bucks from a local priest and headed for New York. That was in 1959. Over the years, he has piled up Emmys, Golden Globes and other accolades for his performances in movies such as Badlands, The Subject Was Roses, Apocalypse Now, The Departed and Bobby, and on television for "Kennedy," "Blind Ambition" and his seven seasons in the role of President Josiah Bartlet on NBC's "The West Wing." For his work as a tireless activist for social and environmental causes, he has received numerous honors, including the César E. Chávez Spirit Award.
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; O, What A Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound (Grove Press); and The Keillor Reader (Viking). He is also the editor of the Good Poems anthologies.
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).