Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

5.0 4
by Chris Thile
     
 

The title of Chris Thile's third solo album (the first was released in 1994, when he was all of 12 years old) is telling. Dispensing with lyrics, this all-instrumental effort is held together neither by mood nor by story line but rather by curiosity: curiosity as to where the mandolin, the Nickel Creek wunderkind's instrument of choice,See more details below

Overview

The title of Chris Thile's third solo album (the first was released in 1994, when he was all of 12 years old) is telling. Dispensing with lyrics, this all-instrumental effort is held together neither by mood nor by story line but rather by curiosity: curiosity as to where the mandolin, the Nickel Creek wunderkind's instrument of choice, can go in a group setting, how it relates to rhythm instruments in a small ensemble, and how the sum of each musical configuration can achieve something that sounds whole. Not All Who Wander Are Lost -- the title is taken from J.R.R. Tolkien -- comprises a dozen purposeful musical journeys into territory where genre distinctions melt away. Everywhere Thile and his formidable supporting cast wander (the players include Béla Fleck on banjo, Union Station's Jerry Douglas on Dobro, fiddler Stuart Duncan, and bass players Byron House and Edgar Meyer, among others), they find stimulating conversation. The exciting theme and development of "Sinai to Canaan," sparked by the engaging bonhomie between Thile's mandolin and Meyer's lumbering bass, begs repeat listening in order to absorb all its ideas. On "Club G.R.O.S.S.," inspired by the philosophical musings of comic strip characters Calvin and Hobbes, Thile stays reasonably within the bounds of a melody line after allowing tenor saxophonist Jeff Coffin to bleat, blurt, and sigh in all sorts of angular configurations. These are not empty exercises in musical virtuosity, however. "You Deserve Flowers" is a tender, almost medieval duet between Thile and Meyer fueled by Meyer's fragile, bowed counterpoint to Thile's ruminative solos. Thile's Nickel Creek bandmates Sara and Sean Watkins join him and House on the Celtic-flavored "Big Sam Thompson," a poignant, tribute to a distant relative of Thile's: the baseball Hall of Famer whose home run record was broken by Babe Ruth in 1921. It's a beautiful, touching moment, all heart and wistful longing, reaching out across the ages to honor familial and musical ties that bind. Indeed, not all who wander are lost.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
One has to marvel at the recording sessions the folks at Sugar Hill put together. Start with a young, hotshot mandolin player, Chris Thile, then add the cream of new acoustic players, fiddler Stuart Duncan, banjoist Bela Fleck, and dobroist Jerry Douglas, and pack the whole crew into the studio. Add to this a superb title, Not All Who Wander Are Lost, and it's impossible to go wrong. The breezy "Song for a Young Queen" is a joyful opener, laying the groundwork for 60 minutes of innovative acoustic picking. Bach meets Earl Scruggs on the sprightly "Riddles in the Dark," a duo with Bela Fleck featuring a complex intermingling of banjo and mandolin. The peaceful "Sinai to Canaan, Part 1" quietly rises and falls, with Edgar Meyer's bow and bass adding an eerie bottom end. The shifting rhythms, different combinations of instruments, and slightly mysterious air mirror the many ups and downs of a long journey. Jeff Coffin throws the sounds of the tenor sax into the mix on "Club G.R.O.S.S.," a jazzy open-ended piece that might be described as experimental acoustic. Several songs like "Raining at Sunset" and "Big Sam Thompson" clock in at over five minutes, allowing everyone plenty of room for lengthy solos. Not All Who Wander Are Lost is the perfect album for a lazy Sunday afternoon and will please anyone who loves rich, layered, acoustic music.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/09/2001
Label:
Sugarhill
UPC:
0015891393124
catalogNumber:
3931
Rank:
64924

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