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“The Beauty Is That It Could Fail”: A Real-World Story of Risk

 Chris Thile, Garrison Keillor and Heather Masse in June, during one of Keillor’s last performances as host of “A Prairie Home Companion.” Credit Mark Peterson/Redux, for The New York Times

Chris Thile, Garrison Keillor and Heather Masse in June, during one of Keillor’s last performances as host of “A Prairie Home Companion.” Credit Mark Peterson/Redux, for The New York Times

The new host of Prairie Home Companion steps in after forty years of someone else running the show.

Toward the end of the meeting at the Fort, in St. Paul, Thile suggested a new idea. He wanted to perform a live request every week with his new house band. The rules: A minimum of two of the players should have heard the song, but none could have previously played it.

Rowles liked it. Hudson looked wary. Someone else said, “It could fall flat.”

Thile pointed out that its flopping could be entertaining as well: “It’s Evel Knievel.”

“When you’re live,” Rowles said, “people perceive you in great danger. When you take a risk like that, the reward is really high.”

Thile was firm. “I know there’s a way to make it work,” he said. “I know there’s a way to make it work.”

The others looked hesitant, save for Rowles, who was visibly animated by the idea. “The beauty of it,” he said, “is that it could fail.”

What are you doing that might fail?

Link: What’s a Prairie Home Companion without Garrison Keillor?

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