If you're already a subscriber, please share "Bluegrass on the Tube" with friends.
About the video
Nickel Creek at their best, live and jammin' featuring Chris Thile, Sara Watkins,
Sean Watkins and Byron House on the dog house bass.
About the artists
A new description of Chris Thile would be hard to come by, especially since all
the good superlatives have already been used. They called him a child prodigy
when he was 12 years old and making his first solo album, 1994's Leading Off...,
and a virtuoso when he was 20 and putting out his third solo effort, 2001's Not
All Who Wander Are Lost.
On the heels of those descriptions came effusive adjectives for his talent with a
mandolin, words like "brilliant," "bold," "utterly fantastic," and "staggering." Heady
stuff for someone who was barely out of his teens. But to hear Thile's joyful
playing, or to see his fingers fly with easy speed and agility over his mandolin as
they did when he appeared with his bandmates from Nickel Creek on the 35th
CMA Awards Show in 2001, is to learn firsthand that the enthusiastic praise
aimed at the young mandolin player isn't just hype.
In addition to his work as a solo artist, Thile has been part of Nickel Creek, with
siblings Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins, for more than ten years. He helped
Nickel Creek earn a pair of Grammy nominations for a self-titled debut album,
which was released by Sugar Hill in 2000 and claimed a niche in Billboard's
country Top 20. Their sophomore effort, 2002's This Side, later nabbed the
group's first Grammy win for Best Contemporary Folk Album. In 2001, Thile took
home the title of Mandolin Player of the Year from the Instrumental Bluegrass
Music Association, while the band was honored as Instrumental Group of the
Year. He and his bandmates were nominated that same year for the CMA's
Vocal Group of the Year and the Horizon Award.
Thile started earning awards and championships years ago. He took home top
honors in mandolin competitions in both Arizona and Kansas when he was 13, a
time when he also received a nod from the International Bluegrass Music
Association with a nomination for Player of the Year.
He and Nickel Creek played during a Grammy Awards ceremony while backing
country superstar Dolly Parton, and Thile and Sara Watkins made appearances
in a Parton music video. Country Music Television also took notice of Thile and
his fellow bandmembers, airing videos of the band's "When You Come Back
Down" and "Reasons Why." Initially, Nickel Creek also included Scott Thile, the
mandolinist's bass-playing father. The elder Thile bowed out after the group
launched its first album. The younger Thile acted as producer on Not All Who
Wander Are Lost. Among the album's guest artists are the other two-thirds of
Nickel Creek, Edgar Meyer, Jeff Coffin, Union Station's Jerry Douglas, and Béla
One of Thile's enduring influences, John Moore, was one of his first mandolin
instructors during Thile's childhood in California and plays in the band Bluegrass
Etc. Moore formerly was a member of California, a first-rate bluegrass band,
along with Dan Crary and Byron Berline. (The trio Thile formed with the Watkins
siblings borrows its name from a song written by Berline.)
Through this flurry of activity, Thile continued to record on his own, releasing
Deceiver in the fall of 2004. The album showed him exploring a more
progressive and experimental side of bluegrass music, instead of just the
hotshot mandolin playing that marked his prior albums.
The more organic-sounding but still eclectic How to Grow a Woman from the
Ground followed in 2006 and earned Thile a Grammy nomination for Best
Country Instrumental Performance. He recorded the album with the backing
band the How to Grow a Band (with whom he later toured), which comprised
Noam Pikelny, Gabe Witcher, Chris Eldridge, and Greg Garrison. ~ Linda Seida,
All Music Guide