Knit to This: ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ with Chris Thile

By Ann Shayne
October 29, 2016

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  • Agreed. I have been a fan for so long and, although I acknowledge the right of Garrison Keillor to retire, struggling desperately with the thought of how it would change the show. Chris Thile is absolutely different but in a way that was as much fun to listen to, different but very good. I am so happy that my wild and crazy standing saturday night plan of knitting and listening to my favorite radio show can remain intact.

  • I listened to this in the car last weekend. So good to get a visual.

  • I am a loyal fan, tuning in every Saturday night since the mid 80’s, from my sewing room. I am delighted with Chris Thile as the new host and I wish the new PHC an even longer run

  • How true. Garrison hosting APHC was so much like church. It was solace. It brought be “home,” with all the talk of strong people, potlucks, Lutheran folk, bad weather, etc. Being from Wisconsin but no longer living there the show was yet another tether from my old home to my heart.
    Thank you for reminding me to give its new incarnation a try. I’m all for spectacular talent. What a great idea to knit to the episodes! I’ve been in a Netflix rut, so this will be grand and happy!!

    • It’s like “home” coming over the waves, indeed a tether to grab me. I will always listen to the show — well, seeing is not believing.
      Thanks, Ann, for the urge to listen to the new show.
      Wisconsinites unite . . . but in Tennessee it’s okay to be.

  • Thank you for posting the video! It’s different but the same and I am looking forward to Chris growing into the role!

  • Love. 🙂

  • RECIPE SHARE: Roseanne Barr’s trail mix, equal parts of Kraft caramels and M & M’s (plain or peanut to taste) Really gets you going !

  • One of our loves of New England is Tanglewood, out in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. We took the turnpike from Boston to Stockbridge every year to see/hear the live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion. It was a delightful trip every year! A fabulous yarn store to prowl around in before the show, shopping in Lenox. The shows always had some surprise, James Taylor, Arlo Guthrie, Steve Martin were some of the best! The show went on, we sat there freezing or it was a terrible rain storm, but we never missed one. My husband loves radios things, from ham radio to old radio shows, so he was the one who first discovered it at the start. Lots of great memories, but like all things change happens. I wish him good health, many happy years ahead. He won’t be silent, we’ll still hear from him. He passed it to his right hand man, I will still be listening and still have fond memories of sitting on the grass, high up looking out to the other mountains, listening to the stories unfold in Lake Wobegon.

  • I’ll miss Garrison Keillor; his radio show debuted when I was a young wife and mother and it went out when I’m an old lady and great grandma. I got to see it live many times when I still lived in the Midwest…anyhow, …
    Here’s Chris Thile (a stage performer since childhood – he was a member of Nickle Creek) playing Bach on the mandolin; I heard him play with Garrison in St. Paul and he brought the house down
    Short version
    Extended version
    Thile has a wonderful ensemble group, the Punch Brothers. The music they make is unique.
    And, Ann, you forgot to mention the fabulous Lake Street Dive from Thile’s debut as host of APHC..

  • Thanks, Ann for a great description/tribute.

  • I am a HUGE Chris Thile fan and was delighted (and surprised) to hear he was going to be the new host. I love him with Punch Brothers, I loved him when he played with the Goat Rodeo, and I love him solo. He is so accomplished and does seem to know everyone in music. Quite a talent!!

  • Being a limey I have no idea whom or what you are talking about. However we recently visited Nashville and had a tour of the Ryman. It was fantastic and I can imagine that the sound is amazing .
    Loved Nashville wish we could have spent longer there. Your descriptions as usual bring your subjects back to colourful life . Thank you

  • It’s been a while since I’ve listened to PHC, mostly because I don’t drive long distances in a vehicle with only a radio and cassette deck now. (Still have the same vehicle, radio, and cassette deck; it’s the distances that have changed.)
    I think you’ve hit it exactly right, Ann – the only possible way to go forward with such a long-established format was to find a host with very different strengths and style. I hadn’t heard about the change, so thanks for posting about it. Sounds like some potentially good knit-to-this material for winter knitting by the fire 🙂

  • IMNSHO there was nothing wrong with the original PHC. it was a unique show that will never be matched.

    lack of freshness? i beg to differ. there was remarkable inventiveness in each episode in the long running sketches – Guy Noir, the Cowboys, Dwayne the artist in his trials and interactions with his family etc … its very challenging to take a set of characters and bring them back time after time with new adventures and adding guests along the way – why do so many tv shows fail? why do some many comic strips fail?

    what you call lack of freshness may really mean an opposition to the formula that was the show’s backbone – it WAS based on variety type radio shows of the past and never purported to be anything else. nothing wrong with a formula. its what you do with it that shows your talent and creativity.

    GK is a sublime storyteller and while his voice is not trained it had its unique character. the musical guests alone were an incredible list of talent from folk to rock to jazz to opera – no other show in this country does that. he could get pretty much anyone he wanted to appear on that show. GK acknowledged a breath of musical types and always found a way to embrace them on the show.

    for 20+ weeks a year he produced shows with good singers and artists and story telling and commentary – a remarkable feat that has never been done by any other radio show in this country (now, BBC Radio would have some contenders). the very fact that his personality alone carried this show when there is NOTHING like it on any US radio station (or pretty much anywhere) is an amazing tribute to his dedication, talent and character.

    in this crazy world where FBI Directors take it upon themselves to create new policy during critical election times, to have a show like PHC was a comfort zone – and there is nothing wrong with that – this world becomes more dysfunctional every day.

    i am sad that he has retired and had been dreading this for years. and yes i tried the new incarnation for the last three weeks. Thile is a MacArthur genius and a talented musician. I agree he will attract a new group of musicians.

    however i will not be listening. its fine. PHC is his show now. i would have preferred that they changed the name however, its not really PHC anymore. but whatever.

    and yes i will be listening to reruns of the 40+ years of PHC. (thank g*d for the archives and the internet)

  • “twitchy as a squirrel” – perfect! It’s all a matter of taste, and I am truly sorry for the many who are sad at the change, but I welcome it. After a couple of decades of weekly Saturday night dates, many years ago PHC and I went our separate ways as we grew in different directions. Chris Thile & co has lured me back in, though. Lucky you getting to see him again at the Ryman! (Didn’t you post once about seeing the Punch Bros there?)

  • Thanks for reminding me to give The New Guy a listen. I stopped listening to the show a long time ago, even though it had its charms, it felt stale (or too repetitive, maybe) to me. What can I say? I like change.

  • Thanks, Ann. Chris Thile has been on my favorites list for 20 years! What a treat!

  • I’m a huge Chris Thile fan, so I’m having the opposite problem to everyone else with PHC. I’m hoping Chris can keep up his other musical commitments along with his new gig. And yes, I’m loving the new PHC too. Will miss Garrison Keillor, but the new incarnation is great.

  • Beautiful writing, Ann.

  • I loved Chris Thile before he took over. His musical prowess is incredible. And it’s nice to have a little (or a LOT) of change on PHC.