Interview: Chris Thile & Chris Eldridge Part 2

Chris Eldridge and Chris Thile on the morning we spoke for this interviewWhen we left our dynamic duo yesterday, at the end of Part 1 of this interview, they had just engaged in a small snowball battle. Having concluded that brief engagement, we returned to the interview.

Brance: What about the other four songs on the CD?


We basically co-wrote those tunes as a band. Those four tracks actually contribute to the overall presentation of The Blind Leaving The Blind. We introduced them in that particular order purposefully.

But you know, we’re really just getting warmed up on the mutual creative process. Looking ahead to the future with this band is pretty exciting.

Brance: What is the context for presenting this new material live in a show? What other material is being performed alongside these new compositions?


We’re still performing material from How To Grow in the shows. We’re also doing some tunes from my various solo recordings as well.


We do a few interesting covers as well. And the show is really different each night. We try to mix it up so that if a person comes to more than one show, they’re going to hear something different each time.

Brance: Chris you mentioned earlier that the composition of The Blind Leaving The Blind was colored by the players. If you can quantify it, could you share one thing about each of the guys in the band that you find valuable to the band experience?


Wow, that hard. Each of these guys is so multi-dimensional it’s difficult to pick out just one thing. But if I had to…

Noam brings this incredible work ethic to the group that I really value. His instrument, the banjo, doesn’t really lend itself well to some of the stuff we’re doing. It’s tuned to open G and we’re playing in a variety of keys that make it quite challenging for a banjo player. But Noam just steps up to the task, works it out, and comes up with some incredible stuff.

Gabe processes information so quickly. Someone will have an idea and Gabe just gets it so quickly.

Greg has this amazing self-awareness that is really unique in a musician. And he’s very innovative as a bass player, he really lends a lot to the overall sound.

And Critter, well he’s just fearless. He will try anything! Where the rest of us might be thinking “I’d better not go there, I’ve never had that under my fingers before,” Critter will just forge ahead. Almost every night, at some point, he’ll play something that will have the rest of us looking at each other and asking “Where did that come from?!”

Brance: What is your favorite aspect of the results of recording this particular set of music with this group?


I feel like the end result is music that is interesting and engaging. The listener has to participate in this music, actively. The listener is a key component, and I’m happy about that.

Tomorrow we’ll finish up the interview with a discussion of the recording techniques used on Punch.

Be sure to read Part 1.