Dessa/Star Tribune photo by Bre McGee
Other than being super-duper nice, Chris Thile hasn't displayed a lot of Minnesota spirit as host of The Show Formerly Known As Prairie Home Companion.
But Thile, who largely shapes the show from New York these days, acknowledged "Live From Here"'s roots this past Saturday during the last program of the season scheduled to broadcast from the Twin Cities.
Dessa, one of the few Minnesota-based artists to appear since Thile took over from Garrison Keillor, performed four songs at the Historic State Theatre.
Thile played a verse from Prince's "Sometimes It Snows It April" and a full rendition of Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," his voice flying as fast as his fingers did across the mandolin.
Near the top of the program, he made jokes suggesting that St. Paul didn't have any decent restaurants, a crack that may come back to haunt him when his band, The Punch Brothers, plays at that city's Palace Theatre in August.
Thile also honored a Keillor tradition of sticking around after the show stopped its broadcast, a treat he's done infrequently in past Minnesota broadcasts. After at least half of the crowd has filed out of the State Theatre, Thile returned to the microphone to lead a rendition of Flatt & Scruggs' "Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms."
Encoring with The Replacements' "Skyway" was probably too much to ask.