Shows
This week: we're back at our home base, the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul, Minnesota, as the temperature fluctuates between the low-double-digits and above-freezing balminess. It's a live broadcast with special guests Lucius, Brad Mehldau, and comedian Tom Papa. Plus: Rich Dworsky and the band (Gaby Moreno, Chris Eldridge, Brittany Haas, Paul Kowert, and Ted Poor) are tuning up for another crop of musician birthdays and a hot-off-the-press new composition from the host; and our Royal Academy of Radio Actors, Serena Brook, Tim Russell, Sue Scott, and Fred Newman, round out the program with a few scripts and sponsor messages. Grab yourself a Powdermilk Biscuit or two -- heavens, they're tasty and expeditious! -- and join us down at the public radio end of the dial, or watch live (Saturday, 5pm - 7pm Central Time) at prairiehome.org.
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  • Lucius

    While students at the Berklee School of Music, Lucius frontwomen Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig found common ground in the music they loved. They began singing together and after graduation moved to Brooklyn where their duo grew to a quintet (Dan Molad, Peter Lalish, Andrew Burri). With the success of their debut full-length album, Wildewoman, the group spent the next couple of years on the road. Their latest recording, Good Grief, in large part reflects the range of emotion that comes with nonstop touring.
  • Brad Mehldau

    Over the last two decades, pianist Brad Mehldau has forged a unique path that embodies the essence of jazz exploration, classical romanticism, and pop allure. Both as a soloist and in collaboration with a wide range of artists -- from Renee Fleming and Pat Metheny to Joshua Redman and Jeremy Denk -- he is, as the New York Times wrote, "the most influential jazz pianist of the last 20 years." The most recent of his dozens of albums is the duo recording Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau, released last month on the Nonesuch label.
  • Tom Papa

    Comedian and writer Tom Papa is one of the top comedic voices in the country. Just ask the myriad fans of his stand-up routines or Come to Papa, his weekly hit podcast and SiriusXM show. He's also an actor whose movie and TV credits include Behind the Candelabra, Analyze That, The Informant! and The New Adventures of Old Christine, plus a voice-over role in the animated feature Bee Movie. His new comedy special, Human Mule, recently premiered on the Epix network.
  • Chris Thile

    Chris Thile, A Prairie Home Companion's new host, made his first appearance on the show in 1996. He was 15 and had already been playing mandolin for a decade. He'd also started Nickel Creek with Sara and Sean Watkins, and released his first solo recording, 1994's Leading Off. This Grammy winner now collaborates with many musicians in myriad styles and leads acoustic quintet Punch Brothers. Thile's solo albums include Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1 (Nonesuch).
  • 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.
  • Chris Eldridge

    Maybe it's the gene pool: Chris Eldridge's father was a founding member of The Seldom Scene, a group that guitarist Chris would join after earning a degree in music performance from Oberlin. He went on to start the bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters, and later to critical acclaim with Punch Brothers.
  • Brittany Haas

    At 14, fiddler Brittany Haas began touring with Darol Anger's Republic of Strings. Now Anger says: "Britt opens the window, gets out of the way, and the music floods through in a tide of joy." The California-born, Princeton University grad has performed with a number of bands, including Crooked Still and her trio, Haas Kowert Tice (with bassist Paul Kowert and guitarist Jordan Tice). Among her recordings is 2014's You Got This (Haas Kowert Tice).
  • Paul Kowert

    At age three, Paul Kowert started on violin, but by fourth grade he'd taken up bass, and he later graduated from The Curtis Institute of Music. Now this Wisconsin-raised, Nashville-based musician is a member of Punch Brothers and has toured with Mike Marshall's Big Trio and Dave Rawlings Machine. You Got This is his 2014 recording with American roots trio Haas Kowert Tice.
  • Gaby Moreno

    Guatemalan-born Gaby Moreno was singing even before she could talk. With a style that blends blues, jazz, soul, and R&B, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter received an Emmy nomination for cowriting the theme song for NBC's Parks and Recreation. And she took Best New Artist honors at the 2013 Latin Grammys. Gaby's recordings include Postales and a Christmas album, Posadas, both on the Metamorfosis label. Her latest is the Grammy-nominated Ilusion (Universal Music).
  • Ted Poor

    "Adventurous, truly dynamic, and forward-thinking drumming," said Modern Drummer magazine of Ted Poor. An in-demand session player and sideman, this Eastman School of Music alum has toured worldwide with various bands, and he is currently an Artist in Residence at the University of Washington in Seattle. Wounded Caroline is the 2013 album from Ted's group Mt. Varnum.
  • Serena Brook

    After she picked up her diploma from the University of Minnesota Duluth, actress, voice-over artist, and Eagan, Minnesota, native Serena Brook was off to New York City, where she spent five years performing in Off-Broadway shows and with national and regional touring companies. Now living in the Twin Cities, she has worked with Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and 7th House Theater.
  • Tim Russell

    Mild-mannered Tim Russell one minute -- Obama, Trump, or myriad others the next. It's almost impossible to stump this man of many voices. Says fellow Prairie Home Companion 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.
  • Sue Scott

    Since 1992, Prairie Home fans have heard Sue Scott play everything from well-intentioned moms and ditzy teenagers to Guy Noir stunners and leathery crones who've smoked one pack of Camel straights too many. She recently climbed back on stage in a variety of theater roles. She is well known for her commercial and voice-over work on radio and television, as well as 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."