MINNEAPOLIS – Mandolinist Chris Thile of the band Punch Brothers says hosting “A Prairie Home Companion” is like “getting to be Luke Skywalker.”
Thile will substitute for “Prairie Home” host and creator Garrison Keillor on the live public radio show Saturday and Feb. 14 from the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.
A longtime “Prairie Home” fan, Thile was 15 when he made his first appearance on the show in 1996. His Nickel Creek bandmate, singer and fiddler Sara Watkins, hosted in 2011.
“A Prairie Home Companion” is broadcast on KCUR-FM and Kansas Public Radio from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and repeated at 10 a.m. Sunday on KPR and at 11 a.m. Sunday on KCUR.
Thile, 33, says Keillor told him to “just talk to the people.”
Punch Brothers will be one of the musical guests Saturday.
The 72-year-old Keillor, who’s on a West Coast tour of his one-man show, says he’s looking forward to listening to “Prairie Home” live for the first time in its 40-year history.