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

Album information

Title: This Side | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Sugar Hill Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Human
Human
Shai Maestro
Read Hurricane Mouse
Hurricane Mouse
The Justin Rothberg Group
Read Latínball í Búðardal
Latínball í Búðardal
Tómas R. Einarsson

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.