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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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November 2, 2011 | Nickel Creek retrospective

Hard to believe it's been five years now since the disbanding of the pop/bluegrass band Nickel Creek. It was in 2006 their final "best of" collection "Reasons Why" hit the stores, and we've been in mourning for the trio ever since. Each have gone their separate ways with Chris ending up in the present Punch Brothers incarnation of his band, Sara on the Watkins Family Hour, and recently Sean with WPA (Works Progress Administration).


We studied Thile's playing quite a bit in his Nickel Creek days, the way he could fill in and accompany with the mandolin was textbook study in how to balance soloing with chording and crosspicking. Even today in his duo work with Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall, and recent quartet with the Goat Rodeo Sessions, he continues to blaze new trails for the mandolin in ensemble settings of classical and Newgrass Americana styles.


Back to the Nickel Creek work, we suggest reviewing their discography to analyze some incredible mandolinning, not just the solos but the accompaniment. He is as impressive at laying down a team-building background as he is blazing through the pyrotechnics of his superhuman soloing.

Good stuff!

Read more: Reason's Why
Band website: Nickel Creek
Thoughts on Chris Thile

Posted by Ted at November 2, 2011 5:14 AM

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