This week's classic rebroadcast: we spin the clock back 20 whole years to March 1997 and a show at Saint Paul, Minnesota's Fitzgerald Theater. Mr. Greg Brown joins us for "Vivid" and "Why Don't You Just Go Home?"; Diana Krall and her trio perform "I'm an Errand Girl for Rhythm" and "Ghost of a Chance (I Don't Stand A)"; and our friends Kate MacKenzie and Robin and Linda Williams team up with Garrison as The Hopeful Gospel Quartet to sing "Your Long Journey" and Gillian Welch's "By the Mark." Plus: Dusty and Lefty tangle with a herd of free-range chickens, a message from the Cafe Boeuf St. Paul and Bertha's Kitty Boutique, and Marvin and Mavis Smiley showcase a few songs off their album of classic spring tunes. In Lake Wobegon, the last of the rhubarb gets made into pies at the Chatterbox Cafe.
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  • Greg Brown

    Greg Brown's mother played electric guitar, his grandfather played banjo, and his father was a Holy Roller preacher in the Hacklebarney section of Iowa where the Gospel and music are a way of life. Brown's first professional singing job came at age 18 in New York City, running hootenannies (folksinger get-togethers) at the legendary Gerdes Folk City. After a year, Brown moved west to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, where he was a ghostwriter for Buck Ram, founder of the Platters. Tired of the fast-paced life, Brown traveled with a band for a few years, and even quit playing for awhile before he moved back to Iowa and began writing songs and playing in midwestern clubs and coffeehouses. Brown's songwriting has been lauded by many, and his songs have been performed by Willie Nelson, Carlos Santana, Michael Johnson, Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter. He has also recorded nearly a dozen albums, including his 1986 release, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, when he put aside his own songwriting to set poems of William Blake to music. Brown's most current recording is Further In, on Red House Records.
  • Diana Krall

    The New York Times says that Diana Krall "promises to become one of the most significant voices carrying on a classic vocal tradition." Krall grew up in a musical family in Nanaimo, British Columbia. A great-great-aunt of hers played the New York vaudeville circuit, and her father is a record and sheet-music collector. From her dad's collection, young Diana heard music from the earliest days of recording-via wax cylinders and 78s of opera, classical, and jazz galore-the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, Thelonious Monk, and lots of Fats Waller, who was the family's favorite musician. At age four, Krall began studying classical piano, but turned toward jazz during high school after being in a jazz band led by her high-school band teacher, a former professional bass-player. In the early '80s, Krall earned a music scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where she studied for a year and a half. She came back to Nanaimo, where she kept up with the local jazz scene and ended up meeting and becoming friends with drummer Jeff Hamilton and bass great Ray Brown as they came through town. Brown, who's done much to further Krall's career, encouraged her to move to Los Angeles. A Canadian Arts Council grant allowed her to go to L.A., where she studied with pianist Jimmy Rowles and others. After three years in L.A., Krall moved to her current home base, New York City. She's made three recordings, the most recent of which is All For You (Impulse Records), a dedication to the Nat King Cole Trio. Performing with Krall tonight are Russell Malone (guitar) and Neal Caine (bass).
  • 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 Japan and North America, and was featured in the public television series, Showcase. With the Hopeful Gospel Quartet, MacKenzie has recorded a live album from Carnegie Hall, performed at folk festivals in Scotland and Denmark, and performed on PBS' Austin City Limits. Her work with A Prairie Home Companion has included 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). Her first solo album, Let Them Talk (Red House Records), was on the National Bluegrass Charts for 10 months. A new album, Age of Innocence (Red House), was released last fall. MacKenzie's success was noted in the New York Times, which grouped MacKenzie in "the new wave of strong female voices."
  • Robin and Linda Williams

    Robin and Linda Williams have been frequent guests on A Prairie Home Companion since 1976. They performed on the second and third Prairie Home Companion Reunion Tours and on A Prairie Home Companion's broadcasts from Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and the Universal Amphitheater. Beyond A Prairie Home Companion, the Williamses have made numerous television appearances: on the Nashville Network's Fire on the Mountain, Nashville Now, and Music City Tonight. And the duo has been heard on other nationwide radio programs: the Grand Ole Opry has welcomed Robin and Linda Williams as guests, as have Mountain Stage and NPR's All Things Considered. With 12 recordings and three musicals to their credit, they are considered to be among the finest songwriters in the folk-country tradition. Their most recent albums include: Sugar for Sugar, on the Sugar Hill label; and Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group-Live, Sugar Hill's re-release of Strictly Country Records' recording, Live in Holland. Last year, Robin and Linda Williams released a new gospel album, Good News (Sugar Hill). The pair's harmonies can be also heard on Mary Chapin Carpenter's album, Stones in the Road, and on Iris DeMent's Warner Bros. recording, My Life. As part of the Hopeful Gospel Quartet, the duo recorded a live album from Carnegie Hall (produced by Chet Atkins, on Sony Records), toured across the United States and Europe, and been featured on PBS' Austin City Limits.
  • 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.
    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 and Vicksburg Blues (a collaboration with Butch Thompson) are the most recent of Pat's albums.
    Greg Hippen, bass
    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 (violin, saxophone) has far-flung musical leanings: He was a founding member of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen; he collaborated with Garrison Keillor to create the opera Mr. and Mrs. Olson; and he has recorded with dozens of artists, from Itzhak Perlman to Nellie McKay.
  • 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.
  • 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.