This week: a rebroadcast from just before the beginning of our online archives, a show originally from April 1995 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Our good friend, live radio champion, and six-string hero, Chet Atkins stops by for a few songs, including "Mark My Word"; singer Nanci Griffith performs "These Days in an Open Book"; and The Fairfield Four deliver a gospel tour de force on "Highway to Heaven." Plus: Robin and Linda Williams and Kate MacKenzie join forces with the host as the vaunted Hopeful Gospel Quartet for "I Am a Pilgrim" (they also turn in some music of their own - "Over the Edge of the World" from Robin and Linda and "Forgive and Forget" from Kate and the band), a word from the Cafe Boeuf Nashville and our sound effects wizard Tom Keith, and music from The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band, including Pat Donohue's "Stealin' from Chet." In Lake Wobegon, Carl Krebsbach reminisces about an early relationship with Anne Marie Meister. Read notes from Robin and Linda Williams about this week's rebroadcast: Robin and Linda Williams:
What we think about when we see this rundown is how much we enjoyed the Hopeful Gospel Quartet. We recently listened to some old cuts and we were amazed at how good we sounded, especially when one considers that we'd show up on Thursday night, work up the material and then put it out for folks to hear on Saturday afternoon. 1995 found us all cranking out good material and working together well. Of course, seeing Chet's name on the rundown brings back wonderful memories. There was no one like Chet and he was always fun to be around. We used to see him doing jumping jacks in his dressing room right before he went on stage.
  • 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."
  • Nanci Griffith

    Nanci Griffith's beautiful, Texas-tinged voice has won her a large and loyal following. She's also a top-flight writer, who started crafting songs before she reached her teens. She has said it was Buddy Holly and the Crickets who first sparked that interest. "They made me want to have my name in parentheses below the song." She got her wish with memorable compositions like "Love at the Five and Dime," "There's a Light Beyond These Woods (Mary Margaret)" and "It's a Hard Life." That said, Griffith won a Grammy Award for an album that was strictly covers - 1993's Other Voices, Other Rooms.
  • The Fairfield Four

    The Fairfield Four began as a vocal trio that first performed in Nashville's Fairfield Baptist Church in 1921. The trio became a quartet in 1925, sang at other churches and social gatherings for nearly a decade, and then made its radio debut on WSIX in 1937. In July 1942, the group entered a contest sponsored by the Colonial Coffee Company and won an appearance on WLAC Radio in Nashville. They proved so popular that they soon had their own nationally syndicated radio show, which was heard every morning, five days a week for the next ten years. In addition to the radio show, the group toured extensively before launching their commercial recording career in 1946 with several sessions for the Bullet Record Company. Since then, the group has amassed more than 100 titles. Although they went into semi-retirement in the late '60s, they got back together in 1980 for a quartet reunion in Birmingham, Alabama. They electrified the audience with an authentic gospel sound that had all but disappeared in the intervening years. In 1989, the group was named a national treasure when the NEA honored the Fairfield Four with a National Heritage Fellowship. They continue to tour and record, as their schedules allow, and have appeared at Carnegie Hall, toured across Europe and the U.S., and opened for Lyle Lovett and others. Now made up of six singers, the Fairfield Four are still dedicated to the heritage of jubilee gospel singing.
  • Robin and Linda Williams

    "Individually their voices can melt cheese, and in duet they can do all-purpose welding," Garrison Keillor has said of Robin and Linda Williams. Singing the music they love, be it bluegrass, folk, old-time, or acoustic country, these two have carved out a more than three-decade career that has taken them from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl. They first appeared on A Prairie Home Companion in 1975, the same year they recorded their first album. Back 40 - marking 40 years on the road and 40 years of marriage - was released in 2013 on Red House Records.
  • Kate MacKenzie

    Kate Mackenzie has been a favorite guest of A Prairie Home Companion since 1981. For many years, she was lead singer of Stoney Lonesome, with whom she recorded six bluegrass albums, toured Europe, Japan and North America, and was featured in the public television series Showcase and the Nashville Network's Fire on the Mountain. With the Hopeful Gospel Quartet, MacKenzie recorded a live album from Carnegie Hall, performed at folk festivals in Scotland and Denmark, and was featured on PBS' Austin City Limits. MacKenzie's work with A Prairie Home Companion has included co-host roles in several Prairie Home broadcasts, coast-to-coast tours, farewell and reunion shows, 20 Disney Channel television broadcasts, the 1993 Book of Guys tour, and a recurring dramatic role as Sheila, the Christian Jungle girl (wild, yet pure). MacKenzie's first solo album, Let Them Talk (Red House Records), received enthusiastic reviews and was on the National Bluegrass Charts for 10 months. A second solo album, Age of Innocence (Red House), earned MacKenzie a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album. MacKenzie's success was noted in The New York Times, which grouped her in "the new wave of strong female voices."
  • 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.
  • The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band - April 1, 1995

    Richard Dworsky Keyboardist, composer, and arranger Richard Dworsky is APHC's music director. He leads the band, composes themes, improvises script underscores, and collaborates with such diverse guests 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. Pat Donohue 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. Blue Yonder (Bluesky Records) is the most recent of Pat's 11 albums. Greg Hippen, bass Arnie Kinsella Arnie Kinsella hails from Staten Island, and holds a B.A. in percussion performance from Brooklyn College. In addition to his tenure on A Prairie Home Companion, he has performed with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, and has recorded and performed with The Manhattan Rhythm Kings, and Leon Redbone. Andy Stein Andy Stein (violin, saxophone) definitely has far-flung musical leanings. He collaborated with Garrison Keillor to create the opera Mr. and Mrs. Olson, and he has performed with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Eric Clapton, Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, and Bob Dylan. Mike Cass, pedal steel guitar, dobro
  • Tom Keith

    Is that water dripping? Footsteps coming this way? Car tires spinning on an icy driveway? Nope - it's sound effects wizard Tom Keith. With vocal gymnastics and a variety of props, Tom worked his magic on A Prairie Home Companion from the mid-1970s until his passing in 2011.