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World Music CD Reviews North American

Chris Thile

By James Rodgers
Published April 24, 2007

How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
Sugar Hill

Anyone who thought Chris Thile was straying too far from his roots will likely celebrate the news that he has put together a five-piece bluegrass band for his latest release. But before you shed any tears of joy for the prodigal son’s return, be warned: while this is technically a bluegrass record, it’s far from traditional, despite its instrumentation and cover of the Jimmie Rodgers classic “Brakeman’s Blues.” Along with six originals, and a couple traditionals, Thile and his cohorts cover Gillian Welch, the White Stripes, and the Strokes. Never one to wallow in the past or cover oft-traveled ground, Thile uses his roots to grow new leaves, spread new branches and create new saplings. This experiment is bound to irritate traditionalists and newfound Nickel Creek fans alike, but it’s great to see him blending old and new, looking for new discoveries that keep it interesting, for him and his fans.