Live broadcast: June 16 with Ben Folds, Wye Oak & Dave Hill
This week: we’re heading west for a live broadcast from the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery just outside of Seattle with guests Ben Folds, Wye Oak, and comedian Dave Hill. Joining us in the band: Gaby Moreno, Rich Dworsky, Alan Hampton, Alex Hargreaves, Julian Lage, and Ted Poor. We’ll also have Chris Thile’s latest Song of the Week; scripts from our acting company, Serena Brook, Tim Russell, and Fred Newman; a new edition of musician birthdays; your chance to rise to internet fame with our Instant Song Request; and thoughts from Out. In. America. courtesy of Tom Papa. Tune in for all that and more on your local public radio station.
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.
"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.
The New York Times has called Julian Lage “one of jazz’s breezier virtuosos, possessed of an unflappable technical facility and a seemingly boundless curiosity.” A former child prodigy, he boasts a résumé that a guitarist twice his age would be proud to claim. In addition to his many collaborations, Julian has released three albums as leader, most recently 2016’s Arclight. Mount Royal — his duo album with guitarist Chris Eldridge — earned a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.
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.
Wye Oak is Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack, who started a musical partnership while they were still teenagers. They formed their indie-rock duo (previously named Monarch, now called Wye Oak after Maryland’s most famous tree) a dozen years ago in Baltimore. The two have played major festivals, including Coachella, SXSW, and Lollapalooza, and toured from Berlin to Brisbane to Beijing. Their fifth album, The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, was released this April on the Merge Records label. Bass: Will Hackney.
Writer, actor, radio host, musician, comedian Dave Hill has appeared at festivals across the globe, including Bumbershoot, Bonnaroo, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and SXSW. You may have caught him on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Jim Gaffigan Show, or Inside Amy Schumer. He is the author of two books (Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore), and he hosts his own radio program, The Goddamn Dave Hill Show, on station WFMU in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Widely regarded as one of the major music influencers of his generation, Ben Folds has created an enormous body of genre-bending music that includes pop albums with Ben Folds Five, multiple solo albums, and collaborative records with artists from Sara Bareilles and Regina Spektor to William Shatner. He has performed with some of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras, and in 2017 was named as the first-ever Artistic Advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. For over five years, he has served as an active member of the distinguished Artist Committee of Americans for the Arts.