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Sleep With One Eye Open (Deluxe Version)

Chris Thile & Michael Daves

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Album Review

Recorded over four days at Jack White's Third Man studios in Nashville, Sleep with One Eye Open may surprise some fans of Nickel Creek/Punch Brothers vocalist/mandolin phenom Chris Thile. While his technical acumen remains uncontested, the addition of blistering bluegrass singer/guitarist Michael Daves and notorious engineering luddite White into the mix has helped to temper Thile's signature refinements into something raw and primal. Daves, a staunch, Brooklyn-based, bluegrass traditionalist who plays as if the slightest distraction would send his guitar flying off into the night sky, brings out the same zeal in Thile, and when the two of them lockstep, as they do on stand-out cuts like “Loneliness and Desperation" and the fiery title track, it makes the listener believe that bluegrass is just as capable of being turned up to 11 as its cocky, younger, rock & roll brother. The bare-bones production and one-take feverishness helps Sleep with One Eye Open feel like a late-night, bourbon-fueled club set, and while the duo sticks with standards like “20/20 Vision” and “You’re Running Wild,” there’s little doubt that Jimmy Martin and Ira and Charlie Louvin would be taken aback by the ferocity with which each song is performed. Instrumentals like the Irish-tinged “Billy in the Lowground,” “Tennessee Blues,” the languid “Ookpik Waltz,” and “Mississippi Waltz” fare just as well, proving once again that the classics don’t have to be reinterpreted to connect with younger audiences, they just have to be played with the dizzying fire of youth.

Biography

Born: 20 February 1981 in Oceanside, CA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A new description of Chris Thile would be hard to come by, especially since all the good superlatives have already been used. They called him a child prodigy when he was 12 years old and making his first solo album, 1994's Leading Off..., and a virtuoso when he was 20 and putting out his third solo effort, 2001's Not All Who Wander Are Lost. On the heels of those descriptions came effusive adjectives for his talent with a mandolin, words like "brilliant," "bold," "utterly fantastic," and "staggering."...
Full bio
Sleep With One Eye Open (Deluxe Version), Chris Thile
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