Prudence Johnson & Dean Magraw - The Dunsmore Room at Crooners6161 Hwy 65 NE Minneapolis,MN
12/07/2018 6:00 PM - 12/07/2018 8:00 PM
Prudence Johnson’s long and happy career as a singer, writer, and teacher has landed her on the musical theatre stage, in two feature films, (A River Runs Through It, A Prairie Home Companion) on national radio, (several long stints on A Prairie Home Companion) and on concert stages across North America and occasionally Europe (Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Gorky Park and an old mosque in Israel being the most memorable.) She has released more than a dozen recordings, including albums dedicated to the music of the Gershwins, Hoagy Carmichael, Greg Brown, and a collection of international lullabies. Prudence finds pleasure in working with young people, serving as a music director at SteppingStone Theatre for Youth Development since ’96 and teaching private lessons. Since taking up the tenor ukulele, she has found great riches in the folk music of her roots, and in the work of some of the more profound songwriters of her generation. One such project, in collaboration with the New Standards, is devoted to the music of Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits & Leonard Cohen.
In recent years, her greatest focus has been on creating multi-media works for concert and theater stages that blend performance with her interests in history and literature. A play about a little-known collaborator of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht in Berlin between the wars, first produced in 2003, is being rewritten under a new title, and she and pianist Dan Chouinard have just completed a state-wide tour of their new music/history show Millers, Miners & Moonshiners: Minnesota in the 1920s. Their previous collaborations include The Golden Age of Radio, Tiptoe Through the 60s: Songs and Stories from a Revolutionary Decade, and Another Song About Paris. In 2011, she created and produced the touring show and CD A Girl Named Vincent, featuring the poetry of Edna St Vincent Millay set to music by four MN composers.
Dean Magraw is a consummate guitarist, playing with wit and soulful abandon. A performer like no other, he is part-comedian, part-philosopher and all-around musical genius. Transcending genre, he has performed with a cornucopia of collaborators from jazz organist Jack McDuff to folk icon Greg Brown, trad Irish supergroup Altan to classical violinist Nigel Kennedy.
Growing up in a musical household, Dean soaked in a smorgasbord of musical influences. His parents danced to big band swing; his sister sang showtunes and his guitar and veena playing brother's record collection was full of folk, jazz, rock, and classical Indian albums. But it was the opening riff to the Rolling Stones’ “19th Nervous Breakdown” that caused him to fall in love with the guitar.
In his formative years Dean quickly expanded his musical knowledge by incorporating his love of myriad musical styles into his playing and writing. With his eclectic background and musical versatility, he quickly evolved into one of the most innovative guitarists on the international scene as well as one of the most accomplished and original composers, arrangers and producers around. From playing on public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion to leading up his own experimental jam band Eight Head, Dean has literally generated a new world of music.
In addition to his role as an in-demand sideman on over two hundred recording projects, Dean has proven pivotal in creating more than a dozen albums, including five for Red House Records: Wise-Magraw (1985), Broken Silence (1994), Seventh One (1998), Duo (1991), an album he recorded with Emmy Award winning multi-instrumentalist Peter Ostroushko and How the Light Gets In (2010) with Marcus Wise.
Diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) in 2009, a bone marrow transplant prevented him from performing but not recording. During the early stages of his medical treatment, Dean went into the studio with his longtime friend and collaborator Wise to record How the Light Gets In, an engaging collection of highly original compositions nurtured in a refreshingly distinctive soundscape. By 2011, he was well enough to return to the state, playing with Red Planet, Eight Head and Eric Kamau Gravatt, among others.