This week: we look back to October 2016 and our season opener -- Chris Thile's debut as our full-time host -- at the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Jack White performs "City Lights" and (with a little help from Margo Price) "I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)"; Lake Street Dive join us for "Mistakes" and Prince's "When You Were Mine"; and Maeve Higgins shares a few stories about city life, dating, and her parents. Plus: Chris unleashes "Get it Out on the Radio" and leads a medley of Irish tunes, a visit from our two favorite astronauts on their way to Mars, and a word from the Professional Organization of English Majors.
  • Jack White

    A few years ago, the New York Times Magazine called Jack White "the coolest, weirdest, savviest rock star of our time." Could be. From The White Stripes to The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, not to mention his solo work, he has left his singular mark on music of the past couple of decades. Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016, a double CD/LP compilation of his music, is just out on Third Man Records. Dominic Davis, bass; Lillie Mae Rische, fiddle and mandolin; and Fats Kaplin, lap steel, fiddle, mandolin.
  • Lake Street Dive

    Boston- and Brooklyn-based Lake Street Dive formed in 2004 when Rachael Price (vocals), Mike "McDuck" Olson (guitar, trumpet), Mike Calabrese (drums), and Bridget Kearney (bass) were students at the New England Conservatory of Music. The band's name may very well strike a chord with Twin Citians: It is a nod to Lake Street in Minneapolis, Olson's hometown. Their fifth studio album, 2016's Side Pony (Nonesuch), was praised by the Boston Globe as an "exuberant, harmony-rich blend of pop, soul, and jazz."
  • Maeve Higgins

    "Maeve Higgins is rarer than a blessing of unicorns," wrote the Irish Times. (And that's rare indeed.) Since her first foray into stand-up comedy a decade ago in her native Ireland, she has written and performed shows across the globe. Now based in New York, she co-hosts Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk (National Geographic) and has appeared on Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer. Her books include We Have A Good Time, Don't We? and Off You Go: Away from Home and Loving It. Sort Of (both published by Hatchette Books).
  • Chris Thile

    Chris Thile, A Prairie Home Companion's new host, made his first appearance on the show in 1996. He was 15 and 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 now collaborates with many musicians in myriad styles and leads acoustic quintet Punch Brothers. Thile's solo albums include Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1 (Nonesuch).
  • Richard Dworsky

    Keyboardist, composer, arranger, and longtime Prairie Home Companion music director Richard Dworsky has collaborated with such diverse musicians as Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor, Brad Paisley, Kristin Chenoweth, and Sheryl Crow. He has provided music for documentaries on HBO and PBS, and has released many recordings of original material, including his latest, All In Due Time.
  • Chris Eldridge

    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 the bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters, and later to critical acclaim with Punch Brothers.
  • Brittany Haas

    At 14, fiddler Brittany Haas began touring with Darol Anger's Republic of Strings. Now Anger says: "Britt opens the window, gets out of the way, and the music floods through in a tide of joy." The California-born, Princeton University grad has performed with a number of bands, including Crooked Still and her trio, Haas Kowert Tice (with bassist Paul Kowert and guitarist Jordan Tice). Among her recordings is 2014's You Got This (Haas Kowert Tice).
  • Sarah Jarosz

    Sarah Jarosz is a gifted multi-instrumentalist (mandolin, octave mandolin, guitar, banjo), an expressive and distinctive vocalist, and an accomplished songwriter. The New England Conservatory of Music grad has carved out a solid niche where contemporary folk, Americana, and roots music intersect. She's been nominated for multiple Grammys; her latest recording, Undercurrent (Sugar Hill), won for Best Folk Album, and her single "House of Mercy" took the award for Best American Roots Performance.
  • Paul Kowert

    At age three, Paul Kowert started on violin, but by fourth grade he'd taken up bass, and he later graduated from The Curtis Institute of Music. Now this Wisconsin-raised, Nashville-based musician is a member of Punch Brothers and has toured with Mike Marshall's Big Trio and Dave Rawlings Machine. You Got This is his 2014 recording with American roots trio Haas Kowert Tice.
  • Ted Poor

    "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 in Seattle. Wounded Caroline is the 2013 album from Ted's group Mt. Varnum.
  • Serena Brook

    After she picked up her diploma from the University of Minnesota Duluth, actress, voice-over artist, and Eagan, Minnesota, native Serena Brook was off to New York City, where she spent five years performing in Off-Broadway shows and with national and regional touring companies. Now living in the Twin Cities, she has worked with Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and 7th House Theater.
  • Tim Russell

    Mild-mannered Tim Russell one minute -- Obama, Trump, or myriad others the next. It's almost impossible to stump this man of many voices. Says fellow Prairie Home Companion actor Sue Scott, "He does a better Ira Glass than Ira Glass." A well-known Twin Cities radio personality and voice actor, Tim appeared in the Robert Altman film A Prairie Home Companion and the Coen brothers' A Serious Man.
  • Fred Newman

    Sound effects man Fred Newman is an actor, writer, musician, and sound designer for film and TV. Turns out, no one is more surprised than Fred that he's made a career out of doing what he used to do behind the teacher's back -- crossing his eyes, making sounds, and doing voices. He readily admits that, growing up, he was unceremoniously removed from several classrooms, "once by my bottom lip."