Chris Thile preaches to the Wall Street Journal

Chris Thile shot a brief video interview for The Wall Street Journal (posted yesterday), in which he expounds on one of his favorite themes: good music is good music.


Share this:

About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • Dick Bowden

    The MacArthur Foundation made a great choice. He’s kind of intense, but he’s a fine person.

  • Dennis Jones

    Good music is good music…didn’t someone else say that before? I’d sure be upset if I paid to see a Bluegrass show and the mando came out playing Bach all night…even a Baroqued-Up version of “Rebecca”. Chris is a great guy and can hammer the mandolin.

  • Jon Weisberger

    ” I’d sure be upset if I paid to see a Bluegrass show and the mando came out playing Bach all night…”

    I’d say that if you were the kind of person who would be upset at hearing good music you didn’t expect to hear, you’d be the kind of person who would have the responsibility of checking beyond your assumptions – not too hard to do in this day and age of the internet and all – to get a good sense of what it is you were actually likely to hear.

    I once heard a person complain of the possibility that he might drive hundreds of miles and spend hundreds of dollars going to a festival that had the word “bluegrass” in its name, only to find out that it didn’t feature exclusively what he considered to be bluegrass. In my opinion, there was something wrong with that picture, and it didn’t have to do with the festival’s name.

    • Dennis Jones

      Jon, you are a sad…sad man. Your Cyber-Bully tactics have reduced the Bluegrass-L to a few, very few participants except for the endless playlist and the IBMA-L to a small, very small handful of your cronies. I’ll not be bullied here by you, an IBMA board member even and will continue to speak up and say what I feel. I’m sure Ol’ “Last Word Jon” will just write volumes about this.

    • Darren Sullivan-Koch

      I do think that comparing Dennis, a dedicated listener and professional, to the person you describe is pretty unfair. Dennis has strong opinions and catholic taste. While I don’t always agree with him, he’s got a good head on his shoulders, and I can see his position: A little truth in advertising, especially with unknown or lesser-known artists, is always wise for promoters and presenters. As musicians and fans, we trust them to know their audience and market the events appropriately…that said, if something is billed as a “bluegrass festival” and has a few left-of-center surprises, that would be cool…as long as the core was solidly as-billed.

      I’ve seen Thile under a lot of circumstances. Sometimes he challenges his audiences and makes them work for what they want. Sometimes he bounds on stage, instantly reads the room, and delivers a perfectly aimed performance. As he gets older, he seems less intent on cramming stuff down people’s throats and more inclined to match his his vast talents to the tenor of the audience.

  • Russ Jordan

    In the 70’s I saw Frank Wakefield a few times at bluegrass festivals where he performed solo. During that period he was playing mostly his “classical” compositions. I enjoyed the little bit of diversity that his performance gave the festival.

    I love bluegrass and expect to hear it when I go to bluegrass festivals, but it sure does not bother me if some bit of tasteful other music is thrown in to change the pace. Was great to see Gillian Welch on Smith Ridge a few years ago. I think the crowd at Ralph’s festival is as hard core as it gets, but my recollection is that the crowd loved Gillian.