Watch 6 Chris Thile Collaborations On ‘Live From Here’
Oct 23, 2020
11:31 am PDT
One of the many terrible consequences of the pandemic is the cancelation of Live From Here, a variety show hosted by Chris Thile. The mandolinist initally replaced Garrison Keillor as host of the long-running public radio program A Prairie Home Companion in 2016. In 2017, the show was rebranded Live From Here and in 2019 settled in on New York City’s Town Hall as its home venue.
Live From Here gave those listening via public radio and watching the show’s livestreams plenty of opportunities to see and hear Thile display his massive talents. Not only would Chris perform songs he wrote, he also covered songs from an incredibly varied batch of artists. Additionally, Thile would often collaborate with the show’s musical guests.
The JamBase Live Video Archive (JBLVA) contains nearly a thousand Live From Here videos posted on the program’s YouTube channel. Over 300 include Chris Thile. This installment of the JamBase List compiles six standout collaborations starring Chris Thile and musical guests from his five-year run as host of Live From Here/A Prairie Home Companion. Let’s dig in:
Jeff Tweedy – “Poor Places” | December 16, 2017
The first installment of Live From Here to follow the rebranding from A Prairie Home Companion originated from Town Hall in New York City on December 16, 2017. Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Sarah Jarosz, The Staves, yMusic and Thile’s Punch Brothers band were the musical guests on the episode. Punch Brothers teamed with Jeff Tweedy to perform a stunning rendition of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot standout “Poor Places.” Tweedy also played “Laminated Cat” from his Loose Fur project and the Schmilco track “Locator.”
While Live From Here found a home at The Town Hall in New York City, Thile took the show on the road from time to time. The June 23, 2018 episode of the program was broadcast from the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Musical guests included St. Paul & The Broken Bones, I’m With Her and Thile’s Punch Brothers troupe. Each week, Chris would team with the house band — and often special guests — for the show’s “Musician Birthday” segments. Thile honored Brian Wilson’s birthday during the Telluride Bluegrass Festival episode of Live From Here by performing the Beach Boys classic “Good Vibrations” with the house band, Punch Brothers and I’m With Her. The latter is a trio consisting of frequent Live From Here guests Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan.
Rachael Price – “Dance Yrself Clean” | December 1, 2018
Lake Street Dive frontwoman Rachael Price joined Chris Thile and the Live From Here band for a reimagined version of the LCD Soundsystem classic “Dance Yrself Clean.” The performance took place at Town Hall in New York City as part of the December 1, 2018 episode. Price also led Thile and the Live From Here band through Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” earlier in the evening. Cat Power and Jacob Collier were among other guests who contributed to the episode.
Chris Thile has long been a fan of Vulfpeck, often using the band’s “Fugue State” as intro music for Live From Here. Vulfpeck were among the mandolinist’s guests on the December 8, 2018 episode of the show, which originated from Town Hall in New York City. Band members dressed the part for their appearance, each wearing striped shirts. The highlight of Vulf’s Live From Here debut was a stellar version of The Beautiful Game standout “Dean Town” featuring Thile on mandolin. Maggie Rogers, Sarah Jarosz, Noam Pikelny and comedian Chris Gethard also guested on the episode with Vulfpeck additionally serving up “Christmas In L.A.,” “Darwin Derby,” “Love Is A Beautiful Thing” and “Lonely Town.”
Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio made two appearances on the Chris Thile-hosted program. First, Trey was a guest on an episode of A Prairie Home Companion originating from Ellie Caukins Opera House in Denver on November 19, 2016. Then, Anastasio returned for an installment of Live From Here at Town Hall in New York City on October 12, 2019. Trey’s 2019 appearance saw him joined by the house band for Phish classics “Theme From The Bottom” and “If I Could” as well as a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Back In The U.S.A.” and “A Life Beyond The Dream” from his Ghosts Of The Forest project.
Later, Anastasio teamed with the house band and Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for “Blaze On” and “I’m Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open.” Phish originally released “If I Could” with guest vocalist Alison Krauss on 1994’s Hoist. Sarah Jarosz filled Krauss’ role for the stunning version performed on Live From Here on October 12, 2019.
Indigo Girls – “Closer To Fine” | February 15, 2020
The penultimate Live From Here episode originating from The Town Hall in New York City featured musicians Indigo Girls, Real Estate and Amanda Brown as well as filmmaker Ken Burns and comedian Lewis Black. Indigo Girls’ final performance of the night saw the band joined for “Closer To Fine” by Chris Thile and Lucy Wainwright Roche. “Closer To Fine” opened Indigo Girls’ self-titled major label debut in 1989 and is perhaps the band’s best-known song. Thile delivers a stellar mandolin solo within “Closer To Fine.”