It’s been a beautiful spring. It’s up in the 60s, been a little rainy but it’s warm enough for us.
Deer become a nuisance in Lake Wobegon, local high schoolers prepare for prom while the Good Shepherd Nursing Home holds its Sweethearts Dance, and Clarence Bunsen inherits a modest sum when his Aunt Astrid passes away.
On last weekend’s show, we remembered Levon Helm with a few songs, and were fortunate to have two of his friends — Emmylou Harris and Sam Bush — on hand to help out. (Click through to listen if you’re viewing in the Dashboard.)
“When I Go Away” — GK, Heather Masse, and Aoife O’Donovan
(From Levon’s 2009 album Electric Dirt)
“Up on Cripple Creek” — Sam Bush, Emmylou Harris, Heather, Aoife, and the Shoe Band
(From The Band’s self-titled 1969 album)
“Evangeline” — Emmylou Harris and the Red Dirt Boys with Sam Bush
(Featured in The Band’s 1978 farewell film The Last Waltz)
“As we performed on that tour, Garrison always led a sing-a-long during intermission. It made me think about growing up in the midwest and the music program we had at my elementary school. The more I thought about the great old songs, and that even my own child didn’t know them, the more important it became to me to record them. Then, as I started researching my favorites, I found so many great stories I wanted to tell them as well, and that’s why I decided to write an accompanying sheet music/story book.”—Suzy Bogguss describes the inspiriation behind her latest album American Folk Songbook. Read the rest of our interview to learn more about her musical background — including a stint performing at Dollywood — and tune in this weekend when she returns as a guest on APHC!
“He was draped in a blue seersucker suit, like a toad in gift wrap, and a yellow shirt and pink tie, his thinning black hair slicked back, peering out through thick black hornrims, and he looked like one of those fat generalissimos with a chestful of medals who run banana republics, though the jacket lapels had traces of schmutz on them, but his beetle brow was set for battle, his jaw jutting out, his dewlaps quivering, he was wheezing—as you or I would if we were five feet four and weighed 340 pounds and carried an oxygen tank with a plastic tube stuck up our nose.”—Guy sizes up “geezer gangster” Joey Roast Beef in the first chapter of Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny
I’m writing now from Bartonsville, Pennsylvania, holed up in long motel that thankfully has suites and is very reasonable, and within a few miles in either direction of shopping and good dining at fair prices.
It’s really big Hank that’s here, because the New Jersey parking lot where we did stash him suddenly became the construction site of another large building. We are in Town Hall for only two weekends this time so it made no sense to drive home and then back, which is why I’m sitting here in this lonely two-room hideout from whence we shall launch come Saturday evening and swing yet again into Times Square. And then haul the gear off to Nashville.
It’s the beginning of an epic fifteen-week crisscrossing of the nation. There are probably stories out there.
”—Get a slice of life on 18 wheels in the latest column from our very own chief of touring and transit, Mr. Russ Ringsak
“Politics is a wonderful way to make loyal friends: that’s one of the rewards. It’s also a fine way to connect to the real world around you. We tend to live in our own heads, in a swirl of prejudice and lovely notions and borrowed ideas, but when you run for office and start to think about the actual work of government, you have a chance to learn about real life —— about money, about poverty and illness and the education of children, about the construction business, about bureaucracy —— and that is another reward.”—
A Prairie Home Companion for March 31, 2012 — Storify
We thought we’d test out Storify as another way to collect bits and pieces from each week’s broadcast. (You can always find everything in our archive but this will allow us to add your online reactions and other cool stuff.) It won’t work in the Dashboard but click through to check out a collection of photos, videos, scripts, and tweets from last weekend’s show in Milwaukee. Let us know what you think!
A hundred and fifty years ago, Wisconsin soldiers entered the second year of the Civil War. Now, some of their stories have been set to music as part of a Civil War arts project at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. Singer-songwriters Amanda and Allen Rigell of the band Count This Penny share a song inspired by one soldier’s letters home.
Get a taste of Minnesota radio history at Radio Tapes, a site packed with clips from several notable stations. Most importantly, you’ll find a few airchecks and bits our very own Tim Russell recorded back in the ’70s and ’80s! (Including the morning show segment above, from April 1982.)
It’s been a big week in Minnesota weather. We had a little snow at the beginning of the week and it was cold and then it got warmer and the sun came out.
The story of Mr. Turnblad, who built a sailboat, sailed the Gulf of Mexico for three months, and returned to Lake Wobegon a changed man. Plus, Darlene falls for a new bread deliveryman, and the town deals with rain on the night of the junior/senior prom, in a monologue from 2009.
“I went in the back door and I was like, please don’t let her be on stage, please don’t let her be on stage. I just wanted to run and hide. And she and Garrison were on the stage, and he did not let me walk by — he grabbed by the arm, pulled me right over and said Andra Suchy, I’d like you to meet Emmylou Harris. And she took me, put her hands on the face, and gave me a kiss on the cheek, and I thought I was going to die. So he was like ‘Why don’t you sing with us?’ So there I am, in a matter of two weeks, there I am singing on A Prairie Home Companion with Emmylou Harris, one of my heroes of all time, and Garrison.”—
Garrison’s frequent duet partner Andra Suchy describes her first visit to the show
It was a new moon on Monday so it was purely dark for three nights and there was very little snow on the ground to reflect any starlight or streetlights.
Clint Bunsen turns to a vegetarian diet after his wife discovers a dangerous German cookbook, Pastor Liz makes a few pastoral calls, and they share an awkward encounter when Clint visits to repair her toilet.
Interviewer:So you are not really aware of an audience, as you write, that you have to entertain in some way?
Garrison Keillor:There is an audience that listens to Prairie Home Companion, and I feel obligated to do something for them, just as you would be obligated to clean your house and make food if you had friends coming over at seven o’clock. They don’t demand that you be clever or profound, only to be in good humor, or lacking that, to be brief.