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Appalachian Once Again
Bluegrass maestro Chris Thile is putting Nickel Creek on hold and setting out on the solo route.
Greg McAteer, 09 Nov 2006
So you thought there could only ever be one Baggot Inn?
Well, I guess there’s nothing unique in the world anymore. There’s a Baggot Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village and it was at its weekly Bluegrass jam sessions that Nickel Creek’s Chris Thile realized how much bluegrass was in his blood. Living temporarily in New York while going through a divorce, he needed to re-connect with the style of music he had grown up with and was soon playing a weekly residency at the Living Room where he gradually built the set that would be laid down as his new solo record How To Build A Woman From The Ground. When the time came to record the album, he called on a number of friends and they wrote and rehearsed the album in a one-bedroom apartment before decamping to Sear Sound Recording Studios to put down the live takes old-style, grouped around two microphones. The resulting tracks are less polished, you could say less ‘beautiful’, than you might expect from a Nickel Creek record but they make up for that with a gutsy energy and freshness. His show in the Sugar Club on November 9 will be a completely solo affair with a chance to see the songs stripped back to the bare minimum.
It’s the season of CD launches and one of the most intriguing new albums has to be Edel Sullivan’s solo debut ‘In The Time Of’ which got a good send off into the big bad world in her native Cork. Anyone who was impressed by the quality of her string arrangements for Ger Wolfe’s The Velvet Earth album is going to be equally impressed here. Playing professionally since her teens – she was in Hank Wedel’s Prince’s Street – she has never shied away from experimentation and has played with everything from rock bands to Lord Of The Dance – all that wealth of experience is beautifully fused in the record.
There are very few more experienced musicians than Moya Brennan, but amazingly her bash in Solas to launch her new solo album Signature was the first time she has had a formal album launch. The place was packed to the gills with A-listers but it was no po-faced affair, as almost everyone on hand knew the lady well enough to call her a friend and in launching the album Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh went for the belly laughs and got them too. There is a one-off gig at the Arts Theatre in London on November 13 following the end of her current Dutch tour. A full UK tour has been confirmed starting March 18 next year and there are unconfirmed reports that we’ll be seeing Moya return to the fray in Ireland before next summer.