Lush Country


It all started when...

Country music of the hi-fi era comes to life with Lush Country, an all-star band featuring Prudence Johnson on vocals, Dan Chouinard on piano and five other veterans of A Prairie Home Companion and the Guy's All-Star Shoe Band. Country hits of the 1940s, '50s and '60s, from Eddy Arnold to George Jones to Hank Williams to Tammy Wynette. 


Dan Chouinard (piano, accordion, vocals) is accompanist for a who’s who of Twin Cities performers, an enabler of community sing-alongs and a writer of hit shows for public radio, concert hall and theatrical stage. He has toured all across the upper Midwest and turned up often on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.


Peter Johnson (percussion) has played klezmer music with Doc Severinsen and jazz with Dave Brubeck. He was a drummer for The Manhattan Transfer and for Gene Pitney. He has toured the world, but he always comes back to home base: Saint Paul.


Prudence Johnson (vocals) is a singer of international acclaim whose repertoire encompasses the great American Songbook and beyond. Her career includes tours in Russia, Israel, and Scandinavia, appearances in films directed by Robert Redford and Robert Altman, regular appearances on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, and a dozen albums.


Richard Kriehn (guitar, fiddle, mandolin, vocals) got a mandolin from his mom at age 10. At 19 he won the Buck White International Mandolin Contest. He went on to play with the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble and bluegrass group 1946. As a classical musician he has performed with numerous orchestras.


Gary Raynor (bass) has performed with the Count Basie band, Sammy Davis Jr., with whom he toured for several years, and the Minnesota Klezmer Band. He teaches jazz bass at the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul.


Gary Rue (guitar, vocals) has written songs recorded by Helen Reddy and Nick Lowe, and has more than 70 theater musicals to his credit, including The Stinky Cheese Man which has toured internationally. Gary also served as conductor and arranger for ‘60’s pop star Gene Pitney and his 15 piece orchestra until Mr. Pitney’s death in 2006.


Joe Savage (pedal steel) has performed with legendary country singers such as the late Hank Thompson, Margo Smith, Rex Allen, Jr., Jean Shepard, Jeannie Seely, Stonewall Jackson, Jim Ed Brown, David Frizzell, Wanda Jackson, Narvel Felts, Tommy Cash. He’s also worked with Peter Ostroushko and the late Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman, and sat in with Bonnie Raitt.



Lush Country packed the dance floor at their debut last summer at the MN History Center. Come hear them for yourself. Some upcoming gigs:


Saturday March 11 Apple Valley, on the Frozen Apple Concert Series at the Valleywood Golf Course, 6pm - 9pm.


Saturday March 18 Fridley, at Crooner’s Lounge and Night Club, 7pm - 10pm.