A virtuoso since childhood, Chris Thile takes the mandolin to places it has never been before. At the ripe old age of 25, mandolinist extraordinaire Thile has released his fifth solo album just as his incredibly popular band, Nickel Creek, embarks on an "indefinite hiatus." Thile's first release came out when he was 13 and, while commenting on his artistic growth would be overstating the obvious, there is something to this maturity thing.
In his new CD, Thile refuses to stay within the precise boundaries of traditional bluegrass. He and his new pals, Chris Eldridge and Gabe Witcher, play original tunes and explore the work of such diverse writers as Willie Dixon, Jack White, even put a modern spin on the legendary Jimmie Rodgers' "Brakeman's Blues." Recorded in New York, How to Grow is both a celebration and a departure of Thile's previous musical experience and a taste of great things to come. 4 starsChris Tile plays the Variety Playhouse Fri., Nov. 17.
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