Shows
This week's classic rebroadcast: we revisit a March 2014 show from the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Willie Watson performs "Mexican Cowboy" and "Keep it Clean"; Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele turn in "Season of Jubilee" and "Hit the Road, Jack"; and Butch Thompson plays "River Sing to Me" and accompanies Hilary Thavis on "Mamie's Blues." Plus: Guy Noir struggles with a cash shortage, Garrison sings "Argonne," and a brief word from our sponsor Lutheran Air. In Lake Wobegon, the Lutheran Church holds its Lenten soup suppers.
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  • Willie Watson

    When Willie Watson was about 12, he happened upon a recording by Leadbelly. "As soon as I heard that record, I was hooked," he says. His interest in folk and blues and old-time music would eventually lead him to be a founding member of the string band Old Crow Medicine Show. Since leaving the group a couple of years ago, he has launched a solo career. His debut solo album, Folk Singer Vol. 1, features 10 songs ranging from folk standards to obscure gems. It will be released in May on Acony Records.
  • 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.
  • Butch Thompson

    Pianist and clarinetist Butch Thompson has a worldwide reputation 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. His most recent recording is Vicksburg Blues (Red House Records), a collaboration with guitarist Pat Donohue.
  • Hilary Thavis

    Funny how things come together. Born in Rome, Italy, to parents from Minnesota, Hilary Thavis grew up loving music -- especially folk music -- from Woody Guthrie to Italian folk singers like Fabrizio De Andre and Francesco De Gregori. But it was the blues that ultimately captured her attention. Trouble & Truth is the 2011 recording from her band Gaia Groove. Now making her home in the Twin Cities, Hilary is working on a solo album of original songs.
  • 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

    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.
    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.
    Guitarist Dean Magraw studied at the University of Minnesota and the Berklee School of Music in Boston. His first recording, 1994's Broken Silence, won the NAIRD award for Best Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year. Dean has since turned out an array of dazzling albums. For his latest, he joined forces with Hungarian guitarist Sandor Szabo to produce Reservoir (Acoustic Music Records).
    Gary Raynor (bass) has performed with the Count Basie band, Sammy Davis Jr. -- with whom he toured for several years -- and the Minnesota Klezmer Band. He teaches jazz bass at the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul.
  • 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."