Stealing Second

More Albums by Chris Thile

Track Listing

1. Ah Spring
2. Stealing Second
3. Kneel Before Him
4. Bittersweet Reel
5. Alderaanian Melody
6. Hyperdrive
7. Leaves Fall
8. A Night In Mos Eisley
9. Hop The Fence
10. The Game Is Afoot
11. Clear The Tracks
12. Golden Pond
13. Road To Wrigley
14. Ryno's Lament


Chris Thile's second solo presentation -- he would have been 16 years old at the time -- is every bit as impressive as Leading Off, and even more accomplished. In fact, it shows the lad taking significant strides, especially compositionally, resulting in a work of considerable progression for the prodigiously gifted musician. Although technically it is, Stealing Second isn't really a bluegrass album, per se, but something much more exceptional. Rip-snortin' tunes like the title track and "Clear the Tracks" notwithstanding, the album has an overall serene, gossamer beauty. It often feels like a symphony written for traditional bluegrass instruments instead of an orchestra. You cannot listen to the hymn-like purity of "Kneel Before Him" or "Alderaanian Melody" without marveling at the compositional integrity in evidence. Thile manages to make intricately structured and sophisticated melodies sound whimsical and breezy but still complex, wistful, and full of depth. He writes weighty dirges and coquettish ballads, bluesy laments and innocent paeans, and touches on classical, jazz, and, especially, Celtic music in addition to the music's vaguely bluegrass foundation -- and he does it with effortless ease and confidence. ~ Stanton Swihart

Personnel: Chris Thile (bouzouki, mandolin); Sam Bush (guitar, fiddle); David Grier, Russ Barenberg (guitar); Jerry Douglas (dobro); Alison Brown, Scott Vestal (banjo); Stuart Duncan (fiddle).