This Is: Chris Thile

Chris Thile has worn many hats in his three-decade career on the mandolin. Starting as a bluegrass wunderkind in the 1990s, he found his stride with original innovative mandolin melodies—which he brought to the smash-hit group Nickel Creek in the 2000s, making that group one that is still well-loved today. In the 2010s, Thile was nothing short of a musical staple, with his Punch Brothers redefining bluegrass for a new generation of listeners. Collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma and others in the “Goat Rodeo” series and with Bela Fleck on the recent “My Bluegrass Heart” record have cemented Chris Thile as the quintessential twenty-first century mandolinist. Enjoy this playlist that’s all about Chris Thile!

David Chernack

David Chernack is a fiddler, mandolinist, and guitarist from the Hudson Valley. Trained as a classical violist, David found out about bluegrass music in high school and despite his best efforts has been unable to kick the habit in adulthood. He picked up mandolin and guitar in college in Boston, where he studied environmental science and music. While not at his day job or pickin' 'grass, David also enjoys birdwatching and wrenching on cars.

2 Responses

  • Good article David.

    Just to mention a TOTAL coincidence, earlier this month my wife Gayle and I went to Manhattan for a little getaway, and spent a Friday evening at Lincoln Center (Alice Tully Hall) listening to chamber music. My first such experience, in person anyway. The evening was a program of Schubert. First a soprano with piano, then a string quartet, then the soprano and piano again with apparently the greatest clarinetist in the world (from Germany), then a French horn and then a bassoon added. Beautiful music.

    After the intermission they all played and sang together, plus bassist Edgar Meyer, who made the Goat Rodeo album with Chris Thile! Not only that, his bass fiddle had FIVE strings. Of course 99% of his playing was with the bow (arco).

    I was thrilled to recognize one of the performers! In his formal clothes Edgar looked a long way from a Goat Rodeo.

    • Dick, about 13 years ago, I went to Lincoln Center with Rob (son) to see Yo Yo Ma. After the intermission, out comes Alison Krauss, James Taylor, Mark O’Connor, and Edgar Myer to perform along with Yo Yo. What a treat! If you watch this video ) you will see our beaming faces at about the 1:42 minute mark. So many people in the audience had no idea who those “extra” people on the stage were. We, too, were thrilled to know each one of them.

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