Chris Thile really is a genius.
I have always been a fan of his mandolin-based, bluegrass sound, from his solo albums to his latest and greatest with The Punch Brothers. He was the perfect conversationalist when we watched Super Jam at Bonnaroo together, going on and on about his love for the Ryman while randomly breaking out into small jigs. So yes, while sometimes he looks fifty shades of awkward I find him hilarious and above all, mad talented. Also note that my friend and life coach, Beth, has a serious obsession for him that far trumps my 12 yr. old unhealthy obsession with Justin Timberlake.
So whether you’re a fan or not, it’s time to give the man mad props for being the youngest of 23 people awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” Monday. The news came as a complete surprise since recipients don’t even know they’ve been nominated until they get a phone call of congratulations – nominators remain anonymous and winners have to wait two months before telling the world.
My favorite is that it took several attempts to get Thile to actually answer the phone since he’s awesome and screens unknown numbers. His tour manager finally googled the number and when MacArthur popped up they called right back…after Thile picked himself off the floor of his Ryman dressing room.
So basically he is deemed a genius and will receive $500,000 over the course of 5 years to do whatever he wants to do. Word on the street, aka Rolling Stone, is that he plans on purchasing a vintage 1925 Gibson F5 – there were only 200 made – and funding a new bluegrass quintet of sorts.
I don’t care what he does as long as he keeps making great music and doesn’t shave his head. Congratulations, Mr. Thile.