Garrison Keillor and The Hopeful Gospel Quartet (Robin and Linda Williams, Prudence Johnson) with Dan Chouinard, keyboard
An Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon.
Garrison Keillor did A Prairie Home Companion for forty years, wrote fiction and comedy, invented a town called Lake Wobegon where all the children are above average, even though he himself grew up evangelical in a small separatist flock where all the children expected the imminent end of the world. He’s busy in retirement, having written a memoir and a book of limericks and is at work on a musical and a Lake Wobegon screenplay, and he continues to do The Writer’s Almanac sent out daily to internet subscribers (free).
He and his wife, Jenny Lind Nilsson, live in Minneapolis, not far from the YMCA where he was sent for swimming lessons at age 12 after his cousin drowned, and he skipped the lessons and went to the public library instead and to a radio studio to watch a noontime show with singers and a band. Thus, our course in life is set.
ROBIN and LINDA WILLIAMS
For more than four decades now, Robin & Linda Williams have made it their mission to perform the music that they love, “a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism.” Today some might call it “Americana,” but these two revered music masters were living and breathing this elixir 20 years before that label was turned into a radio format. There latest album “A Better Day A-Coming” is now available.
Prudence Johnson’s long and happy career as a singer, writer, and teacher has landed her on the musical theater stage, in two feature films (A River Runs Through It, A Prairie Home Companion), a national radio (several long stints on A Prairie Home Companion), and on concert stages across North America and occasionally Europe. She has released more than a dozen recordings, including albums dedicated to the music of Hoagy Carmichael and Greg Brown, and a collection of international lullabies.
Dan Chouinard is a St. Paul-based honky-tonk pianist, concert soloist and accompanist, street accordionist, sing-along enabler, Italian and French teacher, and bicycling vagabond. He’s been writer and host of a number of live history-with-music shows broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio and Twin Cities Public Television. He played on a dozen live broadcasts of A Prairie Home Companion plus a half dozen APHC cruises, and served as rehearsal pianist for Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, and Lindsay Lohan on the 2005 movie. He’s featured on a number of recordings with APHC regulars Peter Ostroushko (RIP), Prudence Johnson, and Maria Jette.