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Thread: New Chris Thile album

  1. #1

    Default New Chris Thile album

    Pre-ordered the new Chris Thile record, got it today. My turntable's on the fritz, so I haven't gotten to listen yet, but I'm excited to.

    Incidentally, it included a signed promo pic, which was pretty cool.
    Soliver arm rested and Tone-Garded Northfield Model M with D’Addario NB 11.5-41, picked with a Wegen Bluegrass 1.4

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    I have appreciated everything Chris Thile has done up to now, and of course I am sure he will continue to create incredible music. But this new album was lacking in so many ways. There just aren't enough tunes. The lyrics feel self-indulgent and after three listens I've deleted my download.
    It has confirmed my broader feelings about mandolin - it doesn't work as a solo instrument. These past few months I've turned to clawhammer banjo just so I can sit and play things by myself. I'll always take my mandolin to play with friends, but hearing the (arguably) greatest mandolin player in the world sound like this when he's solo has pushed me into other fields. After thirty years playing in fifths I'm going banjo.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    I was waiting until I got my stereo sorted out to listen to it, but now I’m gonna have to listen in the car today.
    Soliver arm rested and Tone-Garded Northfield Model M with D’Addario NB 11.5-41, picked with a Wegen Bluegrass 1.4

  5. #4
    Registered User BadExampleMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    Thile's progressive work is something I want to like more than I do. I tend to blame my ear, though, for not being educated enough to follow where he's trying to take me.

    In a master class he did on the internet he talks a lot about the value of surprise in music, about how music you're familiar with is like standing on a really soft rug in your bare feet. That's super comfortable and you like it but then if there's an unexpected change, rhythmically or harmonically or whatever, it's like someone jerked that rug out from under you. But that unexpected change, in order to work, has to naturally resolve back to territory you recognize - and that's like someone slipping the rug back under you before you have time to hit the floor.

    So that's what he's trying to do with Punch Brothers and his solo work, but where it falls apart for me is I don't recognize the territory at all. So there's no surprise for me, just bewilderment. I'm not standing on a comfy rug, I'm walking across a floor in the dark that's strewn with Legos.

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  7. #5

    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    I have been curious about his new album. Going to listen to it today.

  8. #6
    Registered User Isaac Revard's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    To be honest, I usually don’t like Thile’s work upon my first listen. The punch brothers for example, it took some time before I fell in love with them. I think his musical prowess is just above my head, it sometimes seems like some sort of mandolin-savant noodle-fest (as I listen to laysongs) to my simple ears. I wouldn’t change it, it just takes me time to appreciate it...it’s like reading Dostoyevsky after reading J.K. Rowling...both great authors, one just takes a lot more effort to appreciate.

  9. #7

    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    I haven’t listened to the new one yet, but his song with Edgar Meyer “Why Only One?” is what got me hooked on mandolin. His really outside stuff was my first taste of someone doing something aside from bluegrass with the instrument.
    Soliver arm rested and Tone-Garded Northfield Model M with D’Addario NB 11.5-41, picked with a Wegen Bluegrass 1.4

  10. #8
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    It seems to me at least, that Chris has made a recording of 'cutting edge pop music'. Fine. However, I am not interested in that genre and am not of that demographic profile. I like what he has done with J.S. Bach and Edgar Meyer in instrumental music. So I'll wait for more of that on a future recording.
    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

  11. #9
    Registered User Jake Biddix's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    I have always appreciated his work, no matter if it was Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers, solo, whatever. I resonate with this album as he stated that he was trying to come to terms with being raised in and around church and his adult life is a little different. I kind of try to view his output as the prog rock of acoustic music. Like this is a concept album that needs to be listened to from start to finish, possibly multiple times. I think its awesome that we have basically the Mozart, or Bach, or insert your favorite musical genius in here creating new music. Two thumbs up from me.
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  12. #10

    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    It's really nice and refreshing to read a discussion of music on the internet that is respectful of different folks personal tastes and opinions! I've yet to listen to the full album yet, but having spent time with the singles that preceded the full release, I share many of the sentiments mentioned above.

    The challenge when discussing Mr. Thile's work lies in the fact that no one can fault his technical prowess or call into question his love of music and voracious creative appetite. For me, I find his work the most moving when he is able to have a conversation with other musicians through collaboration.

    It seems to my ears that Chris is bursting at the seems with ideas and he needs the filter of other players to truly focus his playing and distill it into the sound that has inspired so many to pick up the instrument. Back in 2000 his playing on the very first Nickel Creek album blew my 10-year-old mind away. I also believe the mandolin can be an impactful solo instrument for instrumental music or vocal accompaniment...and that's why I've devoted my musical and professional life to it.

    All this is to reiterate my appreciation to Chris for making music and you all for sharing your experiences with this record. It may take multiple listens for you to fall in love or realize that it is not your cup of tea. Regardless, you show great respect to the artist and their work for giving it a chance!

    Cheers!

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  14. #11

    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    I respect what Chris Thile has done with his talents, both in developing his gift, and supporting other musicians. He got a nice kick in the teeth at the start of the pandemic when Live From Here was cancelled, and somehow rebounded with this earnest and vulnerable album.

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  16. #12

    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    I think it goes without saying, regardless of whether his music is appealing to you, or not; He is one of, if not the best mandolin players of this generation.

    I have followed him for years and have enjoyed the majority of the stuff he has done, so far. His 'Not All Who Wander' album is on my desert island list. I see him live every chance I get. Definitely a fan.

    All this said, I just can't get used to his voice. Seriously. It's almost a "Fingernails on the chalkboard" thing for my ears. Sad to say, I doubt that this recording will be at the top of my Thile playlist.

  17. #13
    Registered User Ken_P's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    I've only been able to listen once so far but I think this is probably his best work in quite some time. I saw him premiere Salt in the Wounds several years ago and was intrigued by it then. I'm really happy that it's found a home here.

    This is not easy listening if you don't have a good frame of reference and to my ear much of this album reminds me of classical "art songs" from the tradition of Schubert and Schumann through a 21st century lens. I'll need many more playthroughs to get it all, but it's obvious he put a lot of thought into these songs, how they're put together and how they relate to each other.

    The Bartok is a marvel, I love that piece and I had never even considered that it could be done on mandolin and he manages to make it a jaw dropping technical performance and keep it musical. It also makes it clear where he's coming from in terms of harmonic language and construction for this set of songs.

    One way or another it's a very thoughtful album and I think that should be celebrated.

  18. #14
    Registered User BadExampleMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    Listened to the record this morning. Definitely more of a Nonesuch than a Sugar Hill.

    That’s all I got.

  19. #15
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Bailey View Post
    I have appreciated everything Chris Thile has done up to now, and of course I am sure he will continue to create incredible music. But this new album was lacking in so many ways. There just aren't enough tunes. The lyrics feel self-indulgent and after three listens I've deleted my download.
    It has confirmed my broader feelings about mandolin - it doesn't work as a solo instrument. These past few months I've turned to clawhammer banjo just so I can sit and play things by myself. I'll always take my mandolin to play with friends, but hearing the (arguably) greatest mandolin player in the world sound like this when he's solo has pushed me into other fields. After thirty years playing in fifths I'm going banjo.
    I haven't listened to the new Thile album, but...The banjo definitely has an advantage as a solo instrument, but mandolin I think can work very well too, depending on what you mean. As accompaniment for vocals, maybe not. As a solo instrument for simple old time tunes, i think so. With a few double stops, drones, maybe some shuffle rhythms I think it can really sound great. For inspiration I often go to youtube and listen to the cats demoing mandolins for The Music Emporium. Or Aaron Weinstein's chord melody course. Marla Fibish with the irish trad. Etc...Baron Collins Hill sounds good filling out a fiddle tune, as well.

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  21. #16
    Registered User BadExampleMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    Quote Originally Posted by lgibjones View Post
    I respect what Chris Thile has done with his talents, both in developing his gift, and supporting other musicians. He got a nice kick in the teeth at the start of the pandemic when Live From Here was cancelled, and somehow rebounded with this earnest and vulnerable album.
    Still pissed about that. LFH broadened my musical horizons so much under Thile’s leadership. Hardly a week went by that I didn’t get turned on to some new artist, generally one that I never would have found on my own. Never mind introducing me to Jarosz, O’Donovan, Michael Daves, that whole Brooklyn mafia that formed around Thile and the show.

    For that matter, LFH is responsible - via their sponsorship by Peghead Nation - for whatever small proficiency I possess on the mandolin.

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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    The Bach recordings and the collaborations with Marshall, Ma, Meyer, etc., are a lot more appealing to me. But I continue to support Thile's efforts with my dollar because I think he deserves it.

    A good bit of his newer work reminds me of an interview I saw with Eric Clapton many years ago. The interviewer asked him if, when he was playing, he wanted the audience to feel as though it had been struck by a bolt of lightning. His response was, "No. I want to feel as though I have been struck by a bolt of lightning." The sense was not that he didn't care what other people thought, but rather that he just had things he needed to do ... so he was doing them.

    That shoe seems to fit Laysongs.

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  24. #18

    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    Quote Originally Posted by mswilks View Post
    The Bach recordings and the collaborations with Marshall, Ma, Meyer, etc., are a lot more appealing to me. But I continue to support Thile's efforts with my dollar because I think he deserves it.
    I agree. I picked it up in as much to support him and what he is doing. Yet, it has a place where I will listen to a tune from it here and there. Not beginning to end, in one sitting like I can easily do with a lot of his prior stuff.


    I don't think it's any surprise that such an introspective work comes on the heels of a year-long moratorium that pushed many of us into an extraordinary (and then some!) period of self-reflection, indulgence, etc.

  25. #19

    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    Listened to half of it on the way home from band practice last night. It's definitely out there, and not the most accessible thing anyone has ever recorded.
    Soliver arm rested and Tone-Garded Northfield Model M with D’Addario NB 11.5-41, picked with a Wegen Bluegrass 1.4

  26. #20
    Mandolin Player trodgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    I have a ton of respect for artists, like Thile, who can take the pre-supposed ideas of music and push them out to the next level.

    I want music to surprise me. If I wanted the hear the same old thing over and over, there's always the Eagles.
    “Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free.” -- Aldo Leopold

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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    I listened to it all the way through. I absolutely love a lot of his other stuff, but this is too out there for me.

    It was similar to watching an art film to me. It only seems to make sense to me as an event, beginning to end, and sadly, nothing stood out to me to remember. I can't remember one tune or a part of one (other than the off-time HA, HA, HA's...but only because it grated on my westernized music ear) and if a song came on among other songs (like in a playlist on Spotify), it wouldn't seem to make sense.

    I do applaud him for being able to do his own thing though. He's incredibly talented, but I think this was more of a "for him" kind of album.
    Happy that it sounds like others are digging it. I just couldn't follow him there.
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  29. #22

    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    I've only skimmed it, and my sentiment is very similar to many in this thread. I really appreciate his ability, and especially his ability to construct interesting music that he can perform with just a mandolin and his voice. And I'll acknowledge that a lot of his material and the Punch Brothers' material isn't the most accessible stuff, but I find this album even more difficult. I'll give it a few more listens probably but it isn't my favorite of his. Will purchase anyway though, because like someone mentioned, I think the guy deserves the support. He's an absolute force of nature.

  30. #23
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    I'm a big fan but haven't been able to get all the way through it yet.

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  32. #24
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    In principle, I support it. Always ready for something different. In practice, I much prefer his Bach album.

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    Default Re: New Chris Thile album

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Bailey View Post
    It has confirmed my broader feelings about mandolin - it doesn't work as a solo instrument.
    I think that it's harder to use effectively for solo vocal accompaniment than guitar or even banjo is, but I think that Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, and Thile himself have proven that it can work really well as a solo instrument.



    Quote Originally Posted by BadExampleMan View Post
    I tend to blame my ear, though, for not being educated enough to follow where he's trying to take me.
    For me, there is a difference (although a definite overlap) between appreciation and enjoyment. I absolutely appreciate the typically phenomenal musicianship in terms of composition and performance that I've heard in the few tracks that I've heard from this new album, but I don't know whether additional education would increase my enjoyment of those tracks.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Cassidy View Post
    I think it goes without saying, regardless of whether his music is appealing to you, or not; He is one of, if not the best mandolin players of this generation.
    Absolutely! How many other mandolin players of any generation could write and cleanly perform music of this complexity?
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

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