The best bit of News by far is that our patience has been rewarded by finding two young kindred spirits who are not only on a par with our multi-instrumental skills, but also share our dedication towards vintage American instrumental music! We have been joined by Marie Walker and Marie’s talented 14 year old son Gabriel. Marie’s main instrument is Bass, but she also plays Guitar; Ukulele & 5-string Banjo. Gabriel mainly plays Guitar, to an exceptionally high standard, (actually winning the ‘Pick & strum’ Trophy at the 2011 Saltburn Festival)! He also plays keyboards and Ukulele with equal facility.
Eve still provides the solid rhythmic base with her accompaniments on Tenor guitar; a wide variety of Ukuleles & Strumsticks (walkabout Dulcimers), whilst Stan’s melodic role on 5-string Banjo; Guitar; Autoharp & Harmonica has been extended to include the use of Mandolin or Fiddle!
Marie has a rare deep Contralto voice, whilst Gabriels voice is a strong Baritone also rare for a young man! Both Marie & Gabriel’s former experience includes unaccompanied harmony singing which has extended the groups range of material to include some early Anglo-American Ballads, but the bulk of most performances is still the sincere representation of American Traditional Music in all it’s instrumental forms, from Minstrel; through Old-Time Country; Bluegrass; Dixieland Jazz and culminating in Western Swing. A unique feature in their program is the inclusion of several Native American themed songs & tunes!
They have derived their band name from Garrison Keillors long running American radio show A Prairie Home Companion whose ethos is to showcase Artistes who Pick & Sing all the above facets of Evocative American Music, and hope one day to join them!
They got together via Eves Uke at the Duke club and emerged as a group proper in June 2011 at the Billingham Ukulele Festival, played the Natures World & Saltburn Folk Festivals, and several Folk Clubs in between, (and looking for more outlets!).
In the short time they have been together, Gabriel has also become proficient on the Mandolin; Tenor; Plectrum; & 5-String Banjos, as well as honing his guitar skills to a mind boggling level!
We are currently working on our 1st. compilation Demo C.D., which when available, will be free to club & Festival organisers. If you have not yet been lucky enough to catch us in a live performance, check out The New Prairie Home Companions on YouTube, I hope you will be amazed & delighted!