All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Nickel Creek: This Side

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count

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

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


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
This Side

This Side

Sugar Hill Records


Related Articles

Read Ravensburg CD/LP/Track Review
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 17, 2018
Read Turbulence CD/LP/Track Review
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 17, 2018
Read Black Swan CD/LP/Track Review
Black Swan
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 17, 2018
Read Both Sides Of The Sky CD/LP/Track Review
Both Sides Of The Sky
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: March 17, 2018
Read Beethoven – Missa Solemnis CD/LP/Track Review
Beethoven – Missa Solemnis
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 17, 2018
Read Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6 CD/LP/Track Review
Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The...
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 16, 2018
Read "Aladdin's Dream" CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "The Spirit Of Trane" CD/LP/Track Review The Spirit Of Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 4, 2017
Read "Akua's Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "avantNOIR" CD/LP/Track Review avantNOIR
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Wake Up Call" CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert" CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 8, 2018