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Chris Thile and "Live From Here" at Detroit Opera House, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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Chris Thile would seem to have enough on his plate.

The multi-faceted musician plays in no less than three bands -- the Punch Brothers (who won a Grammy Award earlier this month), Nickel Creek and the all-star Goat Rodeo Sessions. He also makes frequent guest appearances and maintains a variety of other projects. And then Thile started doing a radio show.

Back in October of 2016, Thile inherited "A Prairie Home Companion" from the retiring Garrison Keillor. The name has since been changed to "Live From Here" and the content tweaked to update and the proceedings and make it more distinctive to Thile -- while still maintaining the homespun charm of its predecessor, and, of course, bringing plenty of live music to the airwaves....

• Thile, 37, says by phone that "Live From Here" has changed quite a bit during the two-plus years he's been doing the show. "It feels like it's in constant flux, which is good. I would love for each of these (shows) to feel different, but different in a way that looks like progress to me, or in a way that resembles progression. I like the last show we did more than the first shows we did, so that's positive, and I feel like the show is more itself now than it was when I started. It's been an evolution."

• Thile adds that he liked to make each "Live From Here" episode feel current and of the moment "I think it's more free to reflect what the week has been. That's one of my chief aims of this, for it to be a mirror that we hold up to our experience of the world that week. That's kind of our goal. It's to give us a respite from our experience but then also give us some perspective on it -- good or bad."

• Thile says changing the show's name in December of 2017 was necessary -- and positive. "I don't know how much any of us, myself included, anticipated the necessity of creating a new show whether under the old banner or not. But it became clear pretty soon to me that if I'm gonna do this I just have to chase what I hear in my head; God knows no one's a bigger fan of the old show than me, but I'm a different person than Garrison so I hear a different thing. It became clear that no one needs to me to do just what he did. That would just be a facsimile. So it had to be something new, and it made sense to call it something new as well."

• Thile, who was not able to attend this year's Grammys, says that winning Best Folk Album for the Punch Brothers "All Ashore" was "a huge, huge surprise. I couldn't believe it when I started hearing from the boys right after it was announced. I'm less and less preoccupied with the reception of a given piece of work; I've been doing this long enough to know now that I have no control over how a thing is received, except by me and to a certain extent by my collaborators. I just don't worry about it, but when something like (a Grammy) happens, it's a pleasant surprise."

• Thile is currently writing music for the Goat Rodeo's next recording, rejoining forces with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Aoife O'Donovan for the troupe’s first new studio album since 2011. "We're getting the outline of the record finished and started getting the nuts and bolts of it together. I'm pretty excited about that. Everybody's so busy, but it feels good to be together again."

Public Radio's "Live From Here" -- hosted by Chris Thile with guests Lord Huron, Amanda Palmer, Mike Yard and Madison Cunningham -- takes place at 5:45 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway St. $35-$70. 313-237-7464 or michiganopera.org.

Web Site: www.michopera.org

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