Live broadcast: April 14 with David Crosby, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, and Janeane Garofalo
This week: we kick off a three-week run at The Town Hall in New York City. Pioneering musician and songwriter and Twitter sensation David Crosby stops by; Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks join us — they’ll have a brand-new record, Sparkle Hard, out soon; and we’ll learn a few things from comedian and actress Janeane Garofalo. Plus: a new Song of the Week from Mr. Chris Thile; music from Gaby Moreno, Rich Dworsky, Chris Eldridge, Alan Hampton, Alex Hargreaves, and Ted Poor; and comedy from our acting company, Serena Brook, Tim Russell, and Fred Newman. But wait, there’s more: another crop of musician birthdays packed with some very familiar names; Tom Papa’s latest observations from Out. In. America.; and your chance for five minutes of radio fame with our weekly Instant Song Request.
By the time Chris Thile turned 15, he had already been playing mandolin for a decade. He’d also started Nickel Creek with Sara and Sean Watkins, and released his first solo recording, 1994’s Leading Off. This Grammy winner and MacArthur Fellow teams up with numerous musicians in myriad styles and leads acoustic quintet Punch Brothers. His albums include Thanks for Listening (Nonesuch) 10 studio recordings originally written as Prairie Home Companion Songs of the Week. He is now in his second season hosting the show.
Richard Dworsky, Live from Here's keyboardist, composer, arranger, and music director, has collaborated with diverse musicians -- from Yo-Yo Ma and James Taylor to Brad Paisley and Kristin Chenoweth. For 23 years, he served as pianist and music director for Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion. Rich has also provided music for documentaries on HBO and PBS, and has released many recordings of original material, including his latest, All In Due Time.
Maybe it's the gene pool: Chris Eldridge's father was a founding member of the Seldom Scene, a group that guitarist Chris would join after earning a degree in music performance from Oberlin. He went on to start a bluegrass band, the Infamous Stringdusters, and later to critical acclaim with Punch Brothers. Mount Royal, his 2017 duo album with guitarist Julian Lage, is nominated for a Grammy Award (Best Contemporary Instrumental Album).
"Adventurous, truly dynamic, and forward-thinking drumming," said Modern Drummer magazine of Ted Poor. An in-demand session player and sideman, this Eastman School of Music alum has toured worldwide with various bands, and he is currently an Artist in Residence at the University of Washington, Seattle. For the past few years, Ted has been a member of Andrew Bird's band and appears on Bird's 2016 release, Are You Serious.
Mild-mannered Tim Russell one minute -- Obama, Trump, or myriad others the next. It's almost impossible to stump this "man of a thousand voices." A longtime radio personality (veteran of WDBQ in Dubuque, WCCO and KJJO in the Twin Cities, in addition to his decades-long Prairie Home stint), Tim appeared in the Robert Altman film A Prairie Home Companion and the Coen brothers' A Serious Man.
Actress Serena Brook has appeared off-Broadway, on the national tour circuit, and on regional theater stages. In the Twin Cities, her work includes productions at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, 7th House Theater, the Guthrie Theater's Dowling Studio, and the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis. The Eagan, Minnesota, native is also a voice-over artist who can be heard on national and regional radio commercials.
Sound Effects artist Fred Newman went from the storytelling of small-town Georgia to Harvard Business School and Newsweek magazine. He then veered left to become the author of MouthSounds, puppeteer for Jim Henson, and TV host of shows such as The New Mickey Mouse Club, creating voices and music for Nickelodeon’s cartoon series DOUG, a symphony celebrating the Golden Gate Bridge, and the sound of Old Faithful for Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Visitor Education Center — all with his mouth. He performs his own stories around the country.
Multi-instrumentalist Alan Hampton began his music career in Houston, Texas. He continued at New York City's New School and then at the Thelonious Monk Institute in L.A. He has performed internationally with Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, Wayne Shorter, and more. In addition to laying down tracks for numerous musicians, Alan's own recordings include Origami for the Fire (Ash Productions).
Newest member of the world-renowned Turtle Island Quartet, Alex Hargreaves is an innovative, cross-genre violinist described as “one of the greatest improvising violinists in America today” by virtuoso mandolinist/composer Mike Marshall. He has performed on stages worldwide, including Austin City Limits, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals. Among his recordings: The Brotet, with Samson Grisman, Dominick Leslie, and Nathaniel Smith.
Guatemalan-born Gaby Moreno was singing even before she could talk. With a style that blends blues, jazz, soul, and R&B, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter received an Emmy nomination for co-writing the theme song for NBC's Parks and Recreation. And she took Best New Artist honors at the 2013 Latin Grammys. She writes in both Spanish and English. "Spanish is more poetic," she says, but "in English, you can describe things better." Her latest album, 2016's Ilusion (Universal Music), earned a Latin Grammy nomination.
David Crosby: founding member of pioneering supergroups the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young); two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee; Grammy winner; Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee; book author; activist — and still turning out five-star music more than 50 years after launching his remarkable career. Sky Trails, his jazz-tinged recording released last fall on the BMG label, is his third album of original material in four years. Says Rolling Stone: “Sky Trails affirms this late-career marvel’s almost uncanny ability to reconcile his youthful inspiration and ideals with mature wisdom.”
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
Four years since their last recording, Portland, Oregon-based Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks recently announced their new album, Sparkle Hard (Matador). Due for release next month, it’s described as “light ’n’ breezy, head-down heavy, audacious, melancholic and reflective, goodtime and bodacious — and it pulls off the smartest trick: it’s both unmistakably The Jicks and … The Jicks refashioned.” Guitarist Malkmus (former frontman of the band Pavement) is joined by Mike Clark (keyboards), Joanna Bolme (bass), and Jake Morris (drums).
For decades, actress and comedian Janeane Garofalo has been a fixture on TV (The West Wing, The Larry Sanders Show, The Jim Gaffigan Show, Inside Amy Schumer, Wet Hot American Summer) and in films (The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Ratatouille, Reality Bites, Speech & Debate). Last year, she made her Broadway debut in Scott W. McPherson’s play Marvin’s Room. A longtime activist, she was a contributor to the first liberal radio network, Air America Radio, where she hosted her own talk show, The Majority Report.