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Dear Kay,

I dunno. Sometimes I feel like my cup is full, and I don’t have any more sponge in my head to absorb new music, writing, movies, ANYthing.

But then I spend a Saturday night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville with great friends, sitting in the hard wooden pews of that tabernacle, lost and I mean lost in the two hours of joy that is a live episode of Chris Thile’s re-imagined Prairie Home Companion. It was a night to remember, and savor.

I know we ask a lot of everybody, with all our suggestions for Knit to This and Lazy Sundays. But if you’re in the hunt for an experience that is like nothing else these days, well, here you go:

The February 4, 2017 episode of A Prairie Home Companion.

Sometimes people will say, “Oh, you had to be there.” And I’ll admit to being taken in by the allure of the Ryman—as I always am. But I think all performers playing at the Ryman bring their A game, and they know it’s a special place. You didn’t have to be there to experience the magic of this show. It’s made for the radio, after all, for listening.

At one point in the show (1:41), Amos Lee sings a breathtaking rendition of Sam Cooke’s 1964 song “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and the crowd does that thing when they just can’t sit still—they stomp their approval with their 4,000 feet on the wooden floor of the Ryman, and it’s an absolute roar, and Chris Thile says to Amos Lee, “Wow—yet another thing to love about the Ryman is when that happens.”

In this episode, you’ll hear music by Prince, Jenny Lewis, Amos Lee, Franz Schubert, Del McCoury, Justin Timberlake, Etta James, Noam Pikelny, John Sebastian, Chris Thile, Aoife O’Donovan, and Joni Mitchell. Don’t know them all? That’s the beautiful thing: Chris Thile threads it all together in such a seamless roll of styles and artists that you take it all in, then spend the next week thinking about Noam Pikelny’s banjo piece as if Noam Pikelny were your best friend.




  • Chris Thile and his band the Punch Brothers were/are always magical to see live. From listening to the new Prairie Home Companion, I’d say Chris has brought that magic to the show. He knows so many musical people and brings them onto the show too — which means amazingness. Can you tell I’m a huge Chris Thile fan?

  • I feel like I know the Ryman, just from my vast experience in binge-watching Nashville 🙂

  • We visited the Ryman when visiting our son in Nashville two summer ago, so I now have a complete visual when PHC is broadcast from there. I’ve been listening to PHC since 1983 and am enjoying Chris’ new adaptation. Wish I could have been there in person! I’ll be visiting Nashville again in March and this Mainer, who has had 50″ of snow this year, is looking forward to a lovely blast of spring (and a visit to Craft South)!

    • Don’t forget Haus of Yarn (one of the biggest yarn stores I’ve been in) and Bliss while you’re in Nashville!

  • I was there! It was every bit spectacular!

  • Thanks for reminding me about the show! Can’t wait to start the magic and knit along…

  • Noam’s new solo album “Universal Favorite” will be released March 3. In the interest of full disclosure, i am the publicist at his record label, but though I clearly cannot be completely unbiased, I think it’s a beautiful recording, and I heartily encourage folks to check it out a stream of it when it comes out.

  • That was a bilissful evening! Amazing show. Now I’m going to relive it! Thanks for the link.

  • The link to the broadcast given in the blog post is broken, but you can find the broadcast at

  • Thank you so much for prodding us in the direction of the new Prairie Home Companion. As much as I miss Garrison, Chris was delightful. It was just the thing to knit to. Must remember this.

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