This week, we kick off our summer repeats with a classic recorded all the way back on November 23, 1985 at the Bridges Auditorium at the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, California. Willie Nelson sings a few tunes with our band (featuring Chet Atkins, Johnny Gimble, Peter Ostroushko, and Butch Thompson) and Tom Keith performs his version of "Turkey in the Straw," plus, music from El Mariachi Los Galleros de Pedro Rey, and saw player David Weiss. In Lake Wobegon, Senator K. Thorvaldson's mysterious love Laura comes to town to meet his family.
  • Willie Nelson

    Newsman Dan Rather once suggested that we "add Willie Nelson's face to the cliffs of Mt. Rushmore and be done with it." All in all, it may not be a bad idea. This singer, songwriter, author, actor, activist, Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, Kennedy Center honoree, and seven-time Grammy winner has put his indelible stamp on American music. Just think of the songs - "Crazy," "Hello Walls," "Funny How Time Slips Away," "On the Road Again"...
  • Chet Atkins

    Guitarist, vocalist, record producer Chet Atkins was admired by legions of music fans and fellow musicians alike. He was a favorite Prairie Home guest, and his passing in 2001 was a heavy blow to the APHC cast, crew, and staff. Steve Wariner - a stellar picker in his own right - summed up Atkins' artistry: "Try to do what he does technically. Then try to do it with his touch, tone, and feeling, and you're reminded that you can't out-Chet Chet. He was something else."
  • Johnny Gimble

    Johnny Gimble is one of the true giants of Western Swing fiddling. In the course of a career spanning more than six decades - including the years with Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys - he has charmed anyone who's ever heard him glide through "Faded Love" or "San Antonio Rose" or other myriad other tunes. He's been honored with a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a slew of Academy of Country Music Awards, and a couple of Grammys.
  • Peter Ostroushko

    Mandolinist, composer, arranger Peter Ostroushko, who made his first Prairie Home Companion appearance in 1974, grew up listening to tunes played at family get-togethers in the Ukrainian community of northeast Minneapolis. It's the music that provides the basis for many of his compositions - works that have been performed by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, among others. Peter won an Emmy for the score of Minnesota: A History of the Land (Twin Cities Public Television). His recent recordings include The Mando Chronicles (Red House).
  • 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).
  • El Mariachi Los Galleros de Pedro Rey

    Mariachi music originated in 19th-century Mexico, in the state of Jalisco, and the captivating sound spread across the border. El Mariachi Los Galleros de Pedro Rey, led by Pedro Hernandez, formed in Los Angeles in 1970, but the group traces its roots back to family members in the 1920s. Los Galleros has appeared on TV and radio, and at major festivals. And it was one of three ensembles featured on Linda Ronstadt's Grammy-winning album Canciones de Mi Padre.
  • David Weiss

    For 30 years, David Weiss was principal oboist with the LA Philharmonic. He also held first-chair positions with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the National Symphony, and others. But what caught the attention of A Prairie Home Companion was his virtuosic saw playing, with a repertoire drawn from Bizet to the Beatles, Satie to Saint-Saens to Garner and Gershwin. Said a reviewer in the Los Angeles Times: "He came, he sawed, he conquered." David Weiss passed away this spring.