This week: we're at the Minnesota State Fair in Falcon Heights, Minnesota with host Garrison Keillor and a live performance recorded at the Grandstand on Friday, September 2 for broadcast the next day. Guitar wizard Leo Kottke stops by with his rugged good looks and an arsenal of licks and inimitable style; Anoka, Minn.'s own Ellie Dehn excites the evening air with her stunning soprano voice, honed in Philadelphia, New York, California, Italy, Germany, and more; the Singing Sisters of Soul, Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele, are back to light up Dan Patch Avenue; Heather Masse's warm smooth voice can melt a butter sculpture; and the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers lead our Eleven-Thousand Voice Choir on some classic Minnesota tunes. Plus: the Royal Academy of Radio Actors, Tim Russell, Sue Scott, and Fred Newman will Make Livestock and Pronto Pups Great Again; music director and pianist Rich Dworsky marshals our blue-ribbon radio band (drummer Bernie Dresel, bassist Larry Kohut, Richard Kriehn on mandolin and fiddle, and Chris Siebold on guitar); and an update on the latest News from Lake Wobegon, where the dog days of summer have turned tail, and gorgeous fall weather is distracts us from what follows it. Grab a bucket of warm chocolate chip cookies and we'll see you just northeast of the Mighty Midway on Friday evening, or on the radio Saturday night.
  • Leo Kottke

    With his quick wit and astounding virtuosity, guitarist Leo Kottke has amassed a huge and loyal following since making his debut album in 1969: 12-String Blues, recorded live at the Scholar coffeehouse in Minneapolis. Then came major-label releases Mudlark and the seminal 6- and 12-String Guitar, which has been reissued on CD three times since it first came out in the early 1970s. Among his dozens of albums are Try and Stop Me and Sixty Six Steps, a collaboration with Phish bassist Mike Gordon.
  • Ellie Dehn

    Soprano Ellie Dehn has appeared in many of the world's leading opera houses, from the Metropolitan Opera to Teatro alla Scala and Bayerische Staatsoper. But her love of music started during her childhood in Anoka, Minnesota. She was raised in a musical home - the granddaughter of a Minnesota Orchestra flutist and the daughter of a piano teacher - and she went on to study at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.
  • Jearlyn Steele

    Growing up in Indiana, Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele sang with their siblings as The Steele Children. One by one, they moved to Minnesota and started singing together again. Now music is the family business. Jearlyn also hosts Steele Talkin', a Sunday-night radio show on WCCO, Minneapolis. Her most recent solo CD is Jearlyn Steele Sings Songs from A Prairie Home Companion. Jevetta's performance of "Calling You," from the film Baghdad Cafe, was nominated for an Academy Award. Her solo albums include 2006's My Heart.
  • Heather Masse

    Growing up in rural Maine, Heather Masse sang hymns and folk songs around home with her family. Now based in New York, this New England Conservatory of Music alum is a one-third of the Juno Award-winning Canadian trio The Wailin' Jennys. Lock My Heart is her recording with piano legend Dick Hyman. A new album, August Love Song - on which she joins forces with trombone great Roswell Rudd - was recently released on Red House Records.
  • Philip Brunelle

    Since 1991, the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers - the 32-voice core of the full VocalEssence Chorus - have toured widely and garnered acclaim at every stop. The Oxford Times (UK) wrote, "VocalEssence have a blend that could - and should - be the envy of every choir in the business." Under the direction of founder and artistic director Philip Brunelle, the Minneapolis-based group has released a number of recordings, including From the Land of Sky Blue Waters (Clarion), a CD in honor of Minnesota's choral heritage.
  • Garrison Keillor

    Garrison Keillor was born in 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota. He went to work for Minnesota Public Radio in 1969, and on July 6, 1974, he hosted the first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion in St. Paul. He is the host of The Writer's Almanac and the editor of the Good Poems series of anthologies from Viking.
  • Rich Dworsky and the band - September 3, 2016

    Richard Dworsky Keyboardist, composer, arranger, and longtime Prairie Home Companion music director Richard Dworsky has collaborated with such diverse musicians as Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor, Brad Paisley, Kristin Chenoweth, and Sheryl Crow. He has provided music for documentaries on HBO and PBS, and has released many recordings of original material, including his latest, All In Due Time. Richard Kriehn 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. Bernie Dresel Bernie Dresel has been in the percussion game since he got his first drum kit at the age of two. After graduating from the Eastman School of Music, he headed to Los Angeles. He's worked with countless artists, from Chaka Khan and Maynard Ferguson to David Byrne and Brian Wilson, and spent 15 years with the Brian Setzer Orchestra and Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band. He recently started The Bernie Dresel Big Band (The BBB), whose first album is called Live n' Bernin'. Larry Kohut Bassist Larry Kohut has played on dozens of albums and many film scores, as well as performing with jazz artists such as Patricia Barber, Mel Torme, Vincent Colaiuta, and Tony Bennett. In addition, he is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches acoustic and electric bass. Chris Siebold Bluegrass to big band jazz, Chris Siebold knows his way around a guitar - or a bunch of other instruments, for that matter. Based in Chicago, he draws from a deep well of influences and styles, and has put his talents to work in ensembles such as Psycles and Howard Levy's Acoustic Express. His latest venture is Lennon's Tuba, a collaboration with bassist John Elmquist and string quartet. Their first recording will be released later this year.
  • Tim Russell

    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. Says fellow APHC actor Sue Scott, "He does a better Ira Glass than Ira Glass." A well-known Twin Cities radio personality and voice actor, Tim appeared in the Robert Altman film A Prairie Home Companion and the Coen brothers' A Serious Man. Tim has also been reviewing films professionally for over 10 years.
  • Sue Scott

    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 stage and movie roles, including the part of "Donna" in Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion.
  • Fred Newman

    Sound effects man Fred Newman is an actor, writer, musician, and sound designer for film and TV. Turns out, no one is more surprised than Fred that he's made a career out of doing what he used to do behind the teacher's back -crossing his eyes, making sounds, and doing voices. He readily admits that, growing up, he was unceremoniously removed from several classrooms, "once by my bottom lip."