Chris Thile Announces 'Laysongs' Fall Tour

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Chris Thile celebrates last week's Nonesuch release of Laysongs, his first truly solo album, with a US tour that includes a handful dates this summer—at Telluride Bluegrass Festival this week and along the East Coast in the coming months—and many more in the fall, starting in the Midwest, heading next to New England and New York, then down to the Southeast. 

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Mandolinist, singer, and songwriter Chris Thile celebrates last week's Nonesuch release of Laysongs, his first truly solo album, with a US tour that includes a handful dates this summer—at Telluride Bluegrass Festival this week and along the East Coast in the coming months—and many more in the fall, starting in the Midwest, heading next to New England and New York, then down to the Southeast. A full schedule and ticket information is below; for all the latest, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

Just Thile, his voice, and his mandolin, Laysongs features new recordings of six original songs and three covers, all of which contextualize and banter with his ideas about spirituality. Recorded in a converted upstate New York church during the pandemic, Laysongs’ centerpiece is the three-part Salt (in the Wounds) of the Earth, which was inspired by C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters. The album also features a song Thile wrote about Dionysus; a performance of the fourth movement of Béla Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin; “God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot” based on Buffy Sainte-Marie’s adaptation of a Leonard Cohen poem; a cover of bluegrass legend Hazel Dickens’ “Won’t You Come and Sing for Me”; and an original instrumental loosely modeled after the Prelude from J.S. Bach’s Partita for Solo Violin in E Major.

Thile, who was raised in a Christian household, explains the inspiration for Laysongs, from a backstage conversation with Nonesuch’s Chairman Emeritus Bob Hurwitz, who told him, “‘You should do a God-themed record of some kind, it’s all over your work.’ It is a lifelong obsession of mine, even post-Christianity, what the impact of that kind of devotion to any organized religion is.” When the world went into COVID lockdown in the spring of 2020 and the public radio show Thile had hosted, Live from Here, ended its run, he finally had time to seriously contemplate this idea.

Thile’s wife, the accomplished actor Claire Coffee, served as Laysongs’ co-producer. During the summer of 2020, the family was temporarily living in Hudson, NY, where they found the recording studio, Future-Past. “I went in there to look at the space and instantly felt so at home,” Thile recalls. “I loved the amount of sound around the sound. I had two sonic collaborators on this record: the tremendous engineer Jody Elff and that church.”

The New York Times said of Laysongs: “At its center sits a three-part suite, Salt (in the Wounds) of the Earth, which … begins with a single mandolin string, repeatedly plucked, then gives way to two, then three. Finally it blossoms out into a rustling chord, which Thile attacks in frustrated swipes. Then he starts to vocalize: ‘Ha, ha, ha.’ In the suite’s windy, self-scolding lyrics, Thile sends up the folly of certainty—wagging his own fear of death in his face, daring himself to wonder how deeply it has influenced his beliefs. Throughout the disc, you can hear his big questions hanging in the stillness of the old church’s once-sacred air.”

CHRIS THILE ON TOUR

Jun 10 Sheridan Opera House Telluride, CO
Jun 11 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Telluride, CO
Jun 18 Virginia Arts Festival Williamsburg, VA
Jun 26 Chautauqua Amphitheater Chautauqua, NY
Jun 27 City Winery Hudson Valley Montgomery, NY
Jul 24&25 Filene Center, Wolf Trap Vienna, VA
     
Aug 2 Open Sky Arts Festival Lake Placid, NY
     
Oct 3 Brown County Music Center Nashville, IN
Oct 5 Memorial Hall Cincinnati, OH
Oct 6 The Capitol Theatre Flint, MI
Oct 7 North Shore Center for the Performing Arts Skokie, IL
Oct 9 Cary Hall Lexington, MA
Oct 10 Shalin Liu Performance Center Rockport, MA
Oct 15 Waterville Opera House Waterville, ME
Oct 16 Troy Savings Bank Music Hall Troy, NY
Oct 22 Tarrytown Music Hall Tarrytown, NY
     
Nov 18 Charleston Music Hall Charleston, SC
Nov 21 Carolina Theatre Durham, NC
Nov 22 Atlanta Symphony Hall Atlanta, GA
Nov 23 Harvester Performance Center Rocky Mount, VA
     
Feb 5 Cullen Theater, Wortham Center Houston, TX
     
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Chris Thile: 'Laysongs' 2021 Fall Tour
  • Tuesday, June 8, 2021
    Chris Thile Announces 'Laysongs' Fall Tour

    Mandolinist, singer, and songwriter Chris Thile celebrates last week's Nonesuch release of Laysongs, his first truly solo album, with a US tour that includes a handful dates this summer—at Telluride Bluegrass Festival this week and along the East Coast in the coming months—and many more in the fall, starting in the Midwest, heading next to New England and New York, then down to the Southeast. A full schedule and ticket information is below; for all the latest, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

    Just Thile, his voice, and his mandolin, Laysongs features new recordings of six original songs and three covers, all of which contextualize and banter with his ideas about spirituality. Recorded in a converted upstate New York church during the pandemic, Laysongs’ centerpiece is the three-part Salt (in the Wounds) of the Earth, which was inspired by C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters. The album also features a song Thile wrote about Dionysus; a performance of the fourth movement of Béla Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin; “God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot” based on Buffy Sainte-Marie’s adaptation of a Leonard Cohen poem; a cover of bluegrass legend Hazel Dickens’ “Won’t You Come and Sing for Me”; and an original instrumental loosely modeled after the Prelude from J.S. Bach’s Partita for Solo Violin in E Major.

    Thile, who was raised in a Christian household, explains the inspiration for Laysongs, from a backstage conversation with Nonesuch’s Chairman Emeritus Bob Hurwitz, who told him, “‘You should do a God-themed record of some kind, it’s all over your work.’ It is a lifelong obsession of mine, even post-Christianity, what the impact of that kind of devotion to any organized religion is.” When the world went into COVID lockdown in the spring of 2020 and the public radio show Thile had hosted, Live from Here, ended its run, he finally had time to seriously contemplate this idea.

    Thile’s wife, the accomplished actor Claire Coffee, served as Laysongs’ co-producer. During the summer of 2020, the family was temporarily living in Hudson, NY, where they found the recording studio, Future-Past. “I went in there to look at the space and instantly felt so at home,” Thile recalls. “I loved the amount of sound around the sound. I had two sonic collaborators on this record: the tremendous engineer Jody Elff and that church.”

    The New York Times said of Laysongs: “At its center sits a three-part suite, Salt (in the Wounds) of the Earth, which … begins with a single mandolin string, repeatedly plucked, then gives way to two, then three. Finally it blossoms out into a rustling chord, which Thile attacks in frustrated swipes. Then he starts to vocalize: ‘Ha, ha, ha.’ In the suite’s windy, self-scolding lyrics, Thile sends up the folly of certainty—wagging his own fear of death in his face, daring himself to wonder how deeply it has influenced his beliefs. Throughout the disc, you can hear his big questions hanging in the stillness of the old church’s once-sacred air.”

    CHRIS THILE ON TOUR

    Jun 10 Sheridan Opera House Telluride, CO
    Jun 11 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Telluride, CO
    Jun 18 Virginia Arts Festival Williamsburg, VA
    Jun 26 Chautauqua Amphitheater Chautauqua, NY
    Jun 27 City Winery Hudson Valley Montgomery, NY
    Jul 24&25 Filene Center, Wolf Trap Vienna, VA
         
    Aug 2 Open Sky Arts Festival Lake Placid, NY
         
    Oct 3 Brown County Music Center Nashville, IN
    Oct 5 Memorial Hall Cincinnati, OH
    Oct 6 The Capitol Theatre Flint, MI
    Oct 7 North Shore Center for the Performing Arts Skokie, IL
    Oct 9 Cary Hall Lexington, MA
    Oct 10 Shalin Liu Performance Center Rockport, MA
    Oct 15 Waterville Opera House Waterville, ME
    Oct 16 Troy Savings Bank Music Hall Troy, NY
    Oct 22 Tarrytown Music Hall Tarrytown, NY
         
    Nov 18 Charleston Music Hall Charleston, SC
    Nov 21 Carolina Theatre Durham, NC
    Nov 22 Atlanta Symphony Hall Atlanta, GA
    Nov 23 Harvester Performance Center Rocky Mount, VA
         
    Feb 5 Cullen Theater, Wortham Center Houston, TX
         
    Journal Articles:Artist NewsOn Tour

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