Chris Thile, USA – DB3

Chris Thile, USA – DB3

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I discovered Chris Thile just when I decided to focus again on the mandolin, in October 2012. It was then that I started this blog, I was looking for inspiration, as my only focus and knowledge tun was european music and artists. Seeing Chris in action my first reaction was, “wow, do they really play mandolin like that in the US?”. Yes I did not know then, and it was my fault. As it happens in the age of YouTube and Vimeo, I discovered a lot of information and videos about Chris Thile, but not an official page so I decided to try to learn more about him.

Researching the Internet for more info, I was  impressed by how versatile Chris Thile is, his amazing technique and how he performs across all genres of music. Although I was under the impression that he is a bluegrass mandolinist at the beginning, I quickly changed my mind, especially when after listening to his brilliant performances of Johanne Sebastian Bach music . This is what I am listening now, when writing this post and almost every day when driving my car!

I have to admit, I am now one of his big fans, I have purchased all his recordings and I am  looking forward to  attending one of his concerts or recitals.



Copied from his Wikipedia (see external links below):


Chris Thile Mandolin Playing

Christopher Scott Thile (/ˈθiːliː/ thee-lee; born February 20, 1981) is an American musician, best known as the mandolinist and a singer for the progressive acoustic trio Nickel Creek and acoustic folk/progressive bluegrass quintet Punch Brothers. He is a 2012 MacArthur Fellow.
Thile was born in Oceanside, California in 1981. His earliest memories of music are listening to Stan Getz’s recording of “The Girl from Ipanema” before he even turned one year old. When he was two, his family started going to That Pizza Place, where he listened to John Moore’s band Bluegrass Etc. When Thile was four, his family moved to Idyllwild, California.
Thile began playing the mandolin at the age of five, taking occasional lessons from John Moore. At age eight, Thile’s family and the Watkins family formed Nickel Creek. The band performed at many California bluegrass festivals, and as a result Chris had to be home-schooled. At age twelve, he won the national mandolin championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas.

Nickel Creek
The three members of Nickel Creek met in Carlsbad, California at That Pizza Place in 1989, listening to weekly bluegrass shows with their parents. Soon they were taking lessons and then playing festivals, and even recording albums. Their first, Little Cowpoke, was released in 1994.

Nickel Creek went on to record several more albums, including their self-titled debut album and This Side, which went platinum and won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. In 2005, Nickel Creek released Why Should the Fire Die?, which received massive critical acclaim and sold 250,000 units.

Thile has released other solo albums, including Not All Who Wander Are Lost, released in 2001, and Deceiver in 2004 (in which he wrote, composed, sang, and played every part). In 2008, Thile released a collaboration album with bassist Edgar Meyer, and also plans to release a collaborative album with Hilary Hahn.

Awards and nominations

1997 – Won Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album for True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe
1997 – Nominated for Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance for “Scotland” from True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe
1997 – IBMA award for Album of the Year for True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe
2001 – IBMA award for Mandolinist of the Year
2002 – Won Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album for This Side (with Nickel Creek)
2005 – Nominated for Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for Deceiver
2006 – Nominated for Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance for “The Eleventh Reel”
2007 – BBC’s Folk Musician of the Year
2007 – Nominated for IBMA Mandolinist of the Year
2008 – Nominated for Americana Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year
2012 – Nominated for Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album for Sleep with One Eye Open (with Michael Daves)
2012 – MacArthur Fellowship ($500,000 ‘Genius Grant’)
2013 – Won Grammy Award for Best Folk Album for The Goat Rodeo Sessions (with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, and Edgar Meyer)



chris thile loar
The (main) mandolin that Chris Thile uses Lloyd Loar. It’s dated February 18, 1923. (see external links, interview).


Concerts and Events

Chris Thile

If you want to attend a concert or performance of Chris Thile, take a look at theMandolinTuner Calendar page for Chris Thile Performances.




All Articles with Chris Thile


External Links




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About the Author:

I’m Chris, a mandolin lover from Greece, trained in Music, Mathematics and IT who makes a living on technology but enjoys life through music and arts. Welcome to my adventures!
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