149

Nickel Creek: This Side

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Nickel Creek: This Side

Bluegrass wunderkinder return with a much different take on bluegrass.

Nickel Creek’s newest release, This Side, is a definite extension of their self-titled first recording and Chris Thile’s and Sean Watkin’s most recent recordings ( Not All Who Wander Are Lost and Let It Fall, respectively). This Side boasts plenty of the trio’s trademark acoustic magic with some electric guitars, strings, and Beatlesque melodies and harmonies thrown in.

If Nickel Creek was characterized by the sweetness of "The Lighthouse’s Tale," This Side is characterized by the edginess of "Spit on a Stranger." Even the overt bluegrass pieces ("Smoothie Song," "This Side," and "House Carpenter") possess a certain minor-key darkness tempered with acerbic sense of humor. This music is not mean-spirited, simple informed and suspicious.

Only a single instrumental here, the group and its producer, Allison Krauss, opting for the lush and intelligent harmonies to smart songs. Far and away the most original of all of the offerings is the hillbilly nightmare of Carrie Newcomer’s answer to Son House’s "Death Letter" entitled "I Should Have Known Better." Sara Watkins’s singing up and the boys singing down in front of some frighteningly dissonant strings make it very apparent that some wood alcohol got into the moonshine.

When considering the bulk of what passes for popular music today, it is very easy to listen to Nickel Creek and have the epiphany that this trio’s music is the most original and daring being made. Excellent, excellent recording.

Track Listing: Smoothie Song; Spit On A Stranger; Speak; Hanging By A Thread; I Should

Personnel: Chris Thile

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Sugar Hill Records | Style: Fringes of Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Live with a Boom" CD/LP/Track Review Live with a Boom
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "A Room of One's Own" CD/LP/Track Review A Room of One's Own
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "Stereotomic" CD/LP/Track Review Stereotomic
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Vanheusenism: A Tribute To Jimmy Van Heusen" CD/LP/Track Review Vanheusenism: A Tribute To Jimmy Van Heusen
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 3, 2016
Read "Alto Manhattan" CD/LP/Track Review Alto Manhattan
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!