David Royko Psy.D

Chris Thile: Deceiver, CD review

Chicago Tribune
Oct 10, 2004
CD Review

CHRIS THILE: Deceiver (Sugar Hill)

The press release “talking points” about Chris Thile’s Deceiver are, first, it’s a new direction for the newgrass mandolin virtuoso, and second, he plays all the instruments and wrote all of the material. Thile certainly does a dandy job with a wide range of axes, from electric guitar and fiddle to drums and, of course, mandolin. But the newness of direction, blending rock, jazz, classical and pop, and featuring Thile’s vocals on most cuts, is only in comparison to his previous instrumental solo albums—Thile’s full-time gig as a member of Nickel Creek has already hinted at such proclivities. Granted, it is a bit of a shock to have the album’s first track, “The Wrong Idea,” open with a piano and feature some searing electric guitar along with nakedly vulnerable lyrics. But track two, “On Ice,” is anchored by a skittering mandolin figure that sounds like nobody but Thile, and by the end of the disc, a key hallmark of Thile’s musical personality is as obvious as ever—a rare ability to blend seriously sophisticated musical ideas with ingratiating, melodic hooks. Perhaps most impressive is that Deceiver is a song-cycle that is as richly satisfying as an organic whole as it is in its moment-to-moment style-hopping.

David Royko


More about Chris Thile:

THILE - At 13, mandolinist Chris Thile already is a mature artist (Chgo Trib, Nov 6, 1994) 

THILE - Chris Thile and the Galt House Fire Alarm (Moonshiner Magazine, October, 2000) 

THILE - Chris Thile, feature (Bluegrass Unlimited, June, 2007) 

THILE - Chris Thile--How To Grow A Woman From The Ground (Bluegrass Unlimited, 2007)

THILE - Chris Thile's Newgrass Gets A Little More Blue With His New Band (Chgo Trib,12-28-07) 

THILE - Ex-Nickel Creek Player's Sound Packs 'Punch'  (Chgo Trib, Feb 17, 2008)

NICKEL - Nickel Creek at Schuba's (Chgo Trib, May 9, 2001) 

NICKEL - Nickel Creek - This Side, CD review (Chgo Trib, August 11, 2002)

NICKEL - Nickel Creek, Why Should the Fire Die? CD review (Chgo Trib, July 22, 2005)

MANDOLIN - The Mighty Mandolin - Bush, Stiernberg, Thile, Marshall (Chgo Trib, Jan 20, 2006)