Five Things to Know About Chris Thile, New Host of A Prairie Home Companion
As the new host of A Prairie Home Companion, Chris Thile is considered one of the most highly acclaimed musicians of his generation. Though he’s best known for his work with Nickel Creek and the progressive bluegrass quintet Punch Brothers, there is more to Thiles than meets the eye.
Here are five things you should know about the mandolin virtuoso before he hits airwaves this fall!
1.) He Started Performing At 5 Years Old.
Chris and his family took weekly trips to a local pizza joint in Carlsbad, California to hear folk bands such as Bluegrass Etc where he ultimately fell in love with the mandolin. He started lessons with the band’s frontman John Moore the very next year.
“I wasn't really nervous or anything. I was too young to be nervous. I thought, ‘Oh, this is what you get to do when you’re five,” recalls Thile on touring with Moore.
2.) He Started His First Band When He Was 8.
Thile, along with siblings, Sara and Sean Watkins, formed Nickel Creek in 1989. They became so popular that the children had to be homeschooled for the remainder of their studies.
The trio went on to release dozen of records including their 2005 Grammy- award winner Why Should the Fire Die. The band took a break in 2007 before returning in 2014 for their sixth album tour, A Dotted Line
3.) He’s Is An Avid Baseball Fan.
Thile is a huge Cubs fan. When he’s not playing in front of thousands, he’s glued to his television with the rest of the Cubs’ fandom, hoping for an end to their seven decade drought. He’s hopeful that the Cubs will make it to the World Series this year.
He First Appeared On A Prairie Home Companion When He Was 15.
In 1996, Thile’s first appearance on the broadcast was on an episode that showcased remarkable young artists from around the country.
“My family listened to it every Saturday that we were around a radio…. To actually be on the show, I was awe-struck in a way, but it also felt like exactly what was supposed to happen,” recalls Thile in an interview with The Guardian.
5.) Chris Was Honored With The MacArthur “Genius” Grant In 2012
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded Thile because of his “...multifaceted artistry as both a composer and performer with various ensembles, Thile is creating a distinctly American canon for the mandolin and a new musical aesthetic for performers and audiences alike.”
It’s safe to say that Garrison Keillor’s legacy will live on through a new generation. “There just isn’t anything he can’t do — and he is very enthusiastic about live radio,” says Keillor on Thile.
Thile is expected to make his debut on A Prairie Home Companion in October.