Parton Surprises Crowd at Thile’s Solo Gig

Chris Thile’s fans got a major bonus Sunday night (July 10) when Dolly Parton made a surprise appearance during his solo performance at Nashville’s Station Inn bluegrass club. Thile, best known for his vocal and mandolin work in Nickel Creek, has previously worked with Parton on several projects, including her Little Sparrow album. Before Parton showed up, Thile performed several instrumentals and also introduced “Jealous of the Moon,” a song he wrote with Gary Louris of the Jayhawks for Nickel Creek’s upcoming album, Why Should the Fire Die? He also offered a solo cover version of Nirvana’s “In Bloom.” Parton joined Thile for a medley of country and bluegrass classics that included “Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad,” “My Long Journey Home,” “Gotta Travel On,” “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “I’ll Fly Away” before reworking Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” into “Mr. Mandolin Man” and paying tribute to the late Johnny Cash and June Carter on a rousing version of “Jackson.” Parton teased Thile throughout her brief visit onstage. Noting that he was jumping up and down as he backed her on mandolin, Parton asked if he was always that happy. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy,” he responded. “I’m seriously happy!”