Every once in a while we hear about a child musical prodigy who can play an instrument better than most of us could ever dream of playing. Few of these prodigies become adult stars, but Chris Thile is an exception.
Thile started playing mandolin with the band Nickel Creek when he was only 8 years old, and he won his first Grammy at age 16. Today, he fronts the band Punch Brothers and has been named a MacArthur Genius. Starting in early 2016, he’s going to be taking over as host of A Prairie Home Companion for Garrison Keillor.
He says he grew up listening to public radio and says that while the show will change to reflect that he’s primarily a musician and not a writer, he wants to stay true to the form.
“I mean, not to brown nose, but I credit my family’s voracious public radio listening for a lot of my music listening omnivorousness,” he says.
“It’s crucial that we do some talking, and laughter needs to be involved. Whatever we change, that will remain. I just really look forward to getting in there and getting my hands dirty.”
During this Talk of Iowa conversation, Thile talks with host Charity Nebbe about his career and his hopes for the future of the beloved public radio program.