So who’s heard of Nickel Creek? They’re a tight progressive bluegrass trio that have been together since the 90’s. Alison Krauss produced their self titled debut on Sugar Hill Records in 2000 (the same year I saw them at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival). Well, their talented 25-year old mandolin player, Chris Thile, has released a few solo albums of his own, with another one due out September 12th. Chris has been playing mandolin since the age of 5, and was working on his first solo album by the age of 12 (I’m feeling like an underachiever here!).
The new record, ‘How to Grow a Woman from the Ground’, features old tunes and new. Thile gives the traditional treatment to the Strokes (“Heart in a Cage”) and the White Stripes (“Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”), and also covers tunes by Jimmie Rodgers and Gillian Welch.
He brings in friends Chris Eldridge (guitarist and member of the Infamous Stringdusters), a couple members of Leftover Salmon – Greg Garrison (bass, vocals) and Noam Pikelny (banjo, vocals) – and fiddler Gabe Witcher.
It’s definitely recommended that you pick up this CD when it’s released next month. You can check out some tunes on Chris’ MySpace page (listen to his fingers FLY on “The Beekeeper”), and I’m going to play one for you here that steers right into beautifully written ballad territory. This tune wins me over to Chris’ side, showing that the man knows how to write a great song: lyrics that are simple, yet so poignant and powerful. Nice work Chris. Check it out.
You’re an Angel, and I’m Gonna Cry (mp3) – from the forthcoming release ‘How to Grow a Woman from the Ground’ (out Sept. 12)