Murray Holds Special Ties for Likely Next Host of 'A Prairie Home Companion'

Jun 30, 2015

Chris Thile, Mandolinist, Composer and MacArthur Fellow
Credit Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Wikimedia Commons

The son of a Murray couple is poised to take over a landmark public radio program.

If you hadn’t heard the rumors, Kathy Thile, mother of 34-year-old Chris Thile, says it is true - her son will be the next host of “A Prairie Home Companion.”

Kathy says the arrangement is very much in the formative stages and an official statement has yet to be released.

Chris is known for his work as a multiple-Grammy Award winning mandolinist and singer releasing over 25 albums with his bands Nickel Creek and the Punch Brothers, through collaboration and as well as a solo artist.

Thile guest-hosted A Prairie Home Companion February 7th and 14th, 2014. You can see a video from the Feb 14 broadcast below.

Kathy says Chris' relationship with the public radio show goes back to when he was a baby, when the family would listen each Saturday.

"In the early days, it was such a great source of acoustic music, because in those days you didn't have the internet and there wasn't a radio station that played that kind of music, so A Prairie Home Companion was one of the only avenues," said Kathy. "We would always listen on Saturday afternoons when Chris was a little kid, then we’d go over to the local pizza place and hear live bluegrass music after just listening to A Prairie Home Companion, and so it was kinda big musical one-two punch on Saturday afternoons."

Kathy says the show was a way of bringing culture into their home that just went down real easy.

“He was taking it in on a much deeper level than we ever realized," she said. "Because he would be listening to the mandolinist on “A Prairie Home Companion,” Jethro Burns would sometimes be on there and Peter Ostroushko was a regular playing in the house band, Chris remembers very clearly hearing those and it was all going over my head but he was really zeroing in on that stuff.”

Thile attended Murray State University as a music major, where he credits it as kickstarting his musical career in a recent interview on Sounds Good with Tracy Ross. Chris now lives in Portland with his wife and 6-week-old baby boy.