Chris Thile How to Grow a Woman from the Ground

Chris Thile and his mandolin will move you one way or another. How to Grow a Woman from the Ground, Thile’s fifth album, is bound to make that moving look a lot like a dance. Thile’s fame is tied largely to the Grammy-winning trio Nickel Creek, but he’s always felt free to swim his own streams and has been caught in the currents of other collaborative projects as well. He usually keeps the description of his music simple, calling it "acoustic.” Others see it as innovative, genre-altering work that’s had a profound effect on modern bluegrass. Regardless of how you see it, it sounds good. Thile’s appreciation for form is evident in his technical proficiency but his inclination towards improvisation is equally clear. His influences are more modern and metropolitan than typical bluegrass fare. There’s no hill-country posturing, moonshine reveling, or backwoods vernacular in what he does — he reflects his own landscape. As a California-born New Yorker, Thile’s a city boy trying to be honest about who he his. Woven throughout stunning originals are rearrangements of the White Stripes, the Strokes, Gillian Welch, Tom Brosseau (title track) and Jimmy Rodgers songs. He handles each with care, bringing gospel, blues, and rock’n’roll together in inspiring ways. The grass is bluer on Thile’s side and what he’s been growing there is proof of that. (Sugar Hill)