published Monday, September 5th, 2011

Heading down to ‘Prairie’

LISA DENTON: Hey, Barry, what do you get when a hurricane crosses the desert? Soggy Arabia.


Sorry, I cribbed that from “A Prairie Home Companion.” As you might imagine, the annual joke show is always my favorite. If I happen to be out when it comes on, I’ll drive around for two hours so as not to miss anything.

Saturday, though, we can learn all the “News From Lake Wobegone” firsthand when host Garrison Keillor brings the radio show’s Summer Love Tour to Memorial Auditorium.

BARRY COURTER: So, if a hurricane hits this area, you’d be living in Soggy-Daisy? Curses, you dragged me down to your punny level.

“A Prairie Home Companion” coming to our little slice of heaven is big news. Keillor’s never been here before, which seems strange. He’s bringing the whole crew and show along, right?

LISA: Yep. This coast-to-coast concert tour is not for broadcast, but it should have the same feel as the weekly series. The audience can expect a visit from “Guy Noir, Private Eye,” learn a little more about “The Lives of the Cowboys” and hear all those funny/strange sound effects from Fred Newman. Oh, and Sara Watkins, formerly of Nickel Creek, will be Keillor’s duet partner.

BARRY: She’s great, so you get jokes, stories and good music. I understand from David Johnson over at the theater that tickets are selling very well, so folks might not want to wait to buy theirs. We tend to hang onto our money around here.

Don’t forget also that Corey Smith is at Track 29 Friday. That train left the station last Thursday with Jamey Johnson, and it appears to be rolling right along. Ollabelle is at Nightfall Friday also. That could be a good evening.

LISA: By the way, not to take credit for getting “A Prairie Home Companion” here, but several weeks ago while listening to one of their on-the-road shows, I wondered, “Why have they never been here?” Not long after that came the announcement that Keillor and company were headed this way.

Now that I’ve determined that my superpower is random thoughts, I’m moving on to “Why haven’t I hit the jackpot in Mega Millions?”

Hey, what does a redneck buy when he wins the lottery? A DOUBLE-wide.


BARRY: Say goodnight, Gracie.

LISA: Goodnight, Gracie.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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