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Chris Thile - How to Grow A Woman from the Ground

Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground

      Sugar Hill Records

1.Watch Ďat Breakdown
2.Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
3.Stay Away
4.O Santo De Polvora
5.Wayside/Back In Time
6.Youíre an Angel, and Iím Gonna Cry
7.How To Grow a Woman From the Ground
8.The Beekeeper
9.If the Sea Was Whiskey
10.Brakemanís Blues
12.Heart in a Cage
13.Iím Yours If You Want Me
14.The Eleventh Reel



A Review

by Nathan Sanders,

When I first read about Chris Thile's latest CD, How to Grow A Woman from the Ground, I was a bit curious and excited. It was my understanding he was "getting back to his roots," namely his bluegrass roots by putting together a group of musicians with bluegrass instruments and using a more traditional recording approach. So upon first hearing it, I was a little disappointed.

Over time, though, Chris Thile's latest offering has grown on me (pun intended). First, it goes without saying (because everyone else has already said it numerous times) Chris Thile is a musical genius, a mandolin wizard, and possibly bluegrass legend in the making, as he is taking the genre in somewhat of a new direction. But to simply confine him to the world of bluegrass is not right as he proves every time he plays. This CD is more evidence of Thile's crossover ability as he covers songs from the likes of Jack White, The Strokes, and even the legendary father of country music Jimmy Rodgers. Plus he offers several original tracks as well. For example, the Jack White song Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground stands out as one of my favorites on this CD. Not being a big White Stripes fan, I had never heard the original until after I heard Thile's version. Frankly, I like Chris' take on the song better with his hard hitting rhythmic mandolin licks, plus the mind-blowing musicianship of those around him. And his cover of The Strokes' Heart In A Cage is not to be missed, with its acoustic rock feel. Jimmy Rodgers' Brakeman's Blues gets a little different treatment with Chris' own style of yodel, if that is what you can call it.

Now, I mentioned my disappointment upon first hearing this CD. Well, initially I was not pleased with the production quality. Chris and company gathered around two microphones and recorded How To Grow with a sort of live performance feel to it, more of the way it was done decades ago. Granted I liked the idea when I first heard of it. Yet, at first I felt like I couldn't hear some of the instrumentation as well as it should be heard. At times it almost sounds like they are playing in a cave. Give it time though and the more you listen, the more your ears get attuned to it. Your appreciation of what is going on in the studio will grow as mine did. Overall I'd recommend How To Grow A Woman from the Ground to mostly Chris Thile fans, but also to anyone who is looking for some really great acoustic music. Chris' instrumental originals are of course phenomenal. I am more a fan of his playing than his voice, so the vocals overall do not do much for me, but to each his own I guess.

Chris Thile