Newgrass multi-instrumentalist Chris Thile is one of the founding members of the Nickel Creek bluegrass/new acoustic band, along with siblings Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins. Child prodigies who moved from novelty status to stardom and stylistic innovations, each of the Nickel Creek members have worked outside the band on various solo and collaborative efforts... Here's a quick look at Thile's solo work...
Chris Thile "Leading Off..." (Sugar Hill, 1994)
Chris Thile "Stealing Second" (Sugar Hill, 1997)
Chris Thile "Not All Who Wander Are Lost" (Sugar Hill, 2001)
Chris Thile & Mike Marshall "Into The Cauldron" (Sugar Hill, 2003)
Newgrass forefather Mike Marshall teams up with fusion-grass idol, Nickle Creek's Chris Thile, in a slam-bang set of flashy mandolin duets. For both artists, it's a nice return to a simpler approach, shorn of glitzy arrangements or iffy pop production... Sure, many of these songs go off on excessive, classical- and jazz-inspired tangents, but at least you get the feel that these guys are connecting as actual musicians, not just as play actors in some prepackaged studio outing, and really playing with the form. Not entirely my cup of tea, but for new acoustic fans, this is a record well worth checking out.
Chris Thile "Deceiver" (Sugar Hill, 2004)
Chris Thile "How To Grow A Woman From The Ground" (Sugar Hill, 2006)
...um, gee... what a weird album title... Anyway, this album is a quite unexpected and welcome surprise -- not being a big Nickel Creek fan, I wasn't expecting much, but I loaded it into the Cd deck and when the disc came on right after some traditional bluegrass album I had on before it, I actually didn't realize the record had changed until about halfway through the Thile set. Although the songwriting is modern, the picking is crisp and pleasantly rootsy, some of the twangiest stuff Thile's done in some time. He's still working in a nontraditional mode, but wearing it less on his sleeve musically and being far less pretentious about it... Some of the songs are kind of strange, but in a good way, and nothing was unpleasant to my highly-critical, trad-oriented ear. I'm almost shocked to say it, but I could actually see myself coming back to this album for some time to come. It's mellow, but not goopy, and pretty darn interesting, too. You might wanna check it out.
Chris Thile/Various Artists "Live: Duets" (Sugar Hill, 2006)
Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer "Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile" (Nonesuch, 2008)
Chris Thile & Michael Davis "Sleep With One Eye Open" (Nonesuch, 2011)
Chris Thile "Bach: Sonatas And Partitas, Vol. 1" (Nonesuch, 2013)
Hick Music Index