JACKSON, Wyo. — Ponder the idea of starting your first band at age eight, and that band going on to sell millions of albums and earning top honors including a Grammy and a couple of IBMA Awards. That would be Nickel Creek, Chris Thile’s trio with Sara and Sean Watkins. This Sunday, the mandolin superstar will take stage solo at the Center Theater as a thirty-nine year old and one of the mostly highly regarded musicians of his generation.
Many have rediscovered Thile after taking Garrison Keillor’s host spot for A Prairie Home Companion in 2016. The show is now known as Live from Here and can be heard Saturday evening’s on Wyoming Public Radio. Thile had made his first appearance on the show in 1996 as a fifteen year old that had been the recent recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant.
Since then, he has written a mandolin concerto, Ad astra per alas porci, and collaborated with some of the best in the industry. This includes recording a Grammy-winning album with Edgar Meyer, Bass & Mandolin, and another Grammy win with Meyer, Stuart Duncan and Yo-Yo Ma with The Goat Rodeo Sessions. Thile then released music originally composed for violin, Bach: Sonotas and Partitas, Vol. 1.
All the while, he’s a bluegrass force to be reckoned with. Beyond the traditional, there’s arguably not a more interesting progressive bluegrass or stringband incarnation than his quintet Punch Brothers, which formed in 2006 and played the Center Theater in 2011. The group’s album The Phosphorescent Blues was nominated for a Grammy.
Get ready for a virtuosic evening of music. Thile has a confident looseness on stage as if he’s been in that environment since he was five. And, he has.
An Evening with Chris Thile, 7 p.m. Sunday at the Center Theater. $68-$88. CenterForTheArts.org.
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