Avett Brothers, Jesca Hoop and news of more shows illuminate this week's A Prairie Home Companion with Chris Thile

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A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
A non-broadcast encore (Nate Ryan)

The thirteenth and would-be final episode of the 43rd season of A Prairie Home Companion was notable for several reasons. The big news of the night was that the new version of Prairie Home was being renewed for a 44th season that would feature 26 new episodes, twice the number of Chris Thile's debut season as host. The other news was that two more live shows were added to this year's season on May 13 and 20 at the Fitzgerald Theater. Tickets for these shows go on sale March 14.

Thile celebrated the great news with the audience before welcoming musical guests Jesca Hoop and The Avett Brothers to the night's show.

Solo artist Jesca Hoop, a former nanny to Tom Waits' kids, who recently collaborated with Sam Beam, performed songs from her new album Memories Are Now, which came out February 10th. Her performances were complemented by singers Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O'Donovan to create a trio of ringing harmonies.

The Avett Brothers took the stage to play several songs from their new album True Sadness, which included an inspired version of the title track led by Seth Avett. As the lyrics turn to a young woman being exploited for her looks, the intensity of Seth's performance was amplified with his hand out and voice cracking he sang, "Does she not dream to sing and to live and to dance down her own path? Without being torn apart? Does she not have a heart?," resulting in sustained applause from the audience. The Avetts played three songs from their latest, and a fourth, "Murder in the City," a ballad from 2008's The Second Gleam EP, which featured Thile — and the crowd — singing along.

Of course, even in its new, more music-focused form, Praire Home is known for its sketches and comedy. There were impersonations of pro-wrestler and former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura, a sketch about the perils of auto-correct, and a Northern Minnesota beatbox competition.

You hear the dynamic abilities of the house band as they performed punk, bluegrass, and even rap covers of songs by musicians who celebrated a birthday in the last week. And comedian Jen Kirkman shared a very funny story from her childhood.

A Prairie Home Companion with Chris Thile airs on The Current on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.

26 Photos

  • A Prairie Home Companion Avett Brothers
    The Avett Brothers on A Prairie Home Companion with Chris Thile (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Avett Brothers
    Scott Avett (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Avett Brothers
    The Avett Brothers on A Prairie Home Companion with Chris Thile (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Avett Brothers
    Seth Avett (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Avett Brothers
    The Avett Brothers on A Prairie Home Companion with Chris Thile (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    Chris Thile (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    Sarah Jarosz and Aofie O'Donovan (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    A Prairie Home Companion live from the Fitzgerald Theater on February 18, 2017. (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    A Prairie Home Companion live from the Fitzgerald Theater on February 18, 2017. (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    A Prairie Home Companion live from the Fitzgerald Theater on February 18, 2017. (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    A Prairie Home Companion live from the Fitzgerald Theater on February 18, 2017. (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    Actors Fred Newman, Tim Russell and Serena Brook (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    Thile, O'Donovan, Jesca Hoop and Sarah Jarosz (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    A Prairie Home Companion live from the Fitzgerald Theater on February 18, 2017. (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    Chris Thile (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    A Prairie Home Companion live from the Fitzgerald Theater on February 18, 2017. (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    A Prairie Home Companion live from the Fitzgerald Theater on February 18, 2017. (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    Aofie O'Donovan and Sarah Jarosz (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    Chris Thile tunes his mandolin (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    A Prairie Home Companion live from the Fitzgerald Theater on February 18, 2017. (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    Backstage at the Fitzgerald Theater (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    A Prairie Home Companion live from the Fitzgerald Theater on February 18, 2017. (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    Jesca Hoop (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    A Prairie Home Companion live from the Fitzgerald Theater on February 18, 2017. (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    Final bows at from the Fitzgerald Theater (Nate Ryan)
  • A Prairie Home Companion Fitzgerald Theater
    And the audience goes wild. (Nate Ryan)