This week on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, we're back at The Fitzgerald Theater in downtown Saint Paul for a live broadcast. With special guests, honky tonk harmonizers The Cactus Blossoms, our friends Bob Douglas and Susie Eldredge, and pianist Butch Thompson, who's written a few pieces about the Minnesota winter blues. Plus, the Royal Academy of Radio Actors, Tim Russell, Sue Scott, and Fred Newman, The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band, and the latest News from Lake Wobegon.
  • The Cactus Blossoms

    Raised in Minneapolis, brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum have been blending their voices as The Cactus Blossoms since 2010. Their hypnotic harmonies and unforgettable songs have made them favorites on the Twin Cities music scene and beyond. Wrote one reviewer: "Hearing their music is like traveling back in time to when country music started crackling on the radio for the first time." Their third album, 2016's You're Dreaming, is on the Red House label.
  • Bob Douglas

    Texas-born Bob Douglas has lived in Minnesota since his college days. In the early years of A Prairie Home Companion, Bob did mandolin duties, sang harmony, and played spoons on the show with the Powdermilk Biscuit Band and the New Prairie Ramblers. Recently retired from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, he currently performs with the Blood Washed Band, the Show'd Up Band, and the Tune Jerks.
  • Susie Eldredge

    Susie Eldredge wasn't yet born when her dad, Bob Douglas, started appearing on A Prairie Home Companion. Susie and her siblings grew up singing at churches, senior homes, and weddings. In college on the West Coast, she sang in coffeehouses, choirs, and on several recording projects. Later, she joined a band called The Way Much and traveled the country playing concerts and busking. She's now back in Minnesota, working on a master's degree — and still singing and welcoming opportunities to harmonize.
  • Butch Thompson

    Pianist and clarinetist Butch Thompson is known worldwide as a master of ragtime, stride, and classic jazz. Born and raised in Marine-on-St. Croix, Minnesota, Butch was already playing Christmas carols on his mother's upright piano by age three, and he led his first professional jazz group as a teenager. For 12 years, he was A Prairie Home Companion's house pianist, dating back to the show's second broadcast, in July 1974. Butch's many albums include Vicksburg Blues, with guitarist Pat Donohue (Red House Records).
  • The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band - March 8, 2014

    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.