New Prairie Home Companion host Chris Thile is set to release some new material this Friday. The album is called “Thanks For Listening” and chronicles Thile’s first year on set of Prairie Home Companion. Each week he would write a new song for a series he called “Song of the Week,” performing that song in front of a live audience with the house band behind him.
For the new album, Thile and producer Thomas Bartlett reimagined the songs in the studio, opting to release new versions over the original live versions. They chose ten tracks out of nineteen possibilities, putting together a compilation of songs that document different periods of Thile’s stint on the famous show. One song, “Elephant in the Room,” Thile wrote as a song for Thanksgiving in all its family glory.
“Thank you for the bouncing boy doing the best that he can do to keep this family entertained as it navigates the treacherous waters of talking small
On this of all Thanksgivings Where even the weather can go from zero to an all-out brawl in seconds, just listen
Been kind of a warm November… God, you and the climate change again, why you gotta be all doom and gloom? Woo boy, at least no one’s mentioned the giant elephant in the room”
It’s a fun song that I find very appropriate for Prairie Home Companion. It’s heartwarming and silly and pokes fun at the family drama we all try to avoid during the holidays, something that former host Garrison Keillor has made into a bonafide tradition over the years. That one you can listen to below:
Ahead of the album, Thile released a lyric video for another of the album’s songs, “Thank You, New York.” This one is a nostalgic tale about the great Northeastern city, one that seems to hold a special place in Thile’s memory:
“I’m getting from here to sleep
On the wings of 134 Eldridge Street
Where I used to dream
Wide awake in good company
Reaching up for stars that I couldn’t see
Through the lights of the city”
Going from a longtime guest on the program to being its host, Thile seems more than excited by his new job at Prairie Home Companion. The songs collected on “Thanks for Listening” chronicle the energy and fervor the multi-instrumentalist has put into writing and recording music for fans and listeners of the show. In his own words, Thile described how much love he has for those who take time to tune in:
“The album pivoted away from the show and toward the listeners—and not just to the listeners of Prairie Home but to anyone who listens to things. They are my heroes—people who listen. I find myself all too often on the other side of the conversation, talking about what I’m doing. It’s hard to maintain focus or give something enough attention to appreciate it. We’re in a place where listening is a precious commodity.”
“Thanks for Listening” will be out December 8th on Nonesuch Records.