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Published: 2008/10/05
by Brad Farberman

Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile – Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile

Nonesuch Records

Double bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolinist Chris Thile have been performing as a duo since 2003, but the creatively titled Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile is the first official document of their mge a deux. And further proof, of course, that both players are unquestionable virtuosos on their axes.

As well as completely uninterested in committing to any one genre or style, MacArthur “genius award” recipient Meyer is often found in the company of Bela Fleck or cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and is equally competent in—you guessed it—bluegrass and classical situations (and Garth Brooks situations; he’s on a number of the dude’s albums). Thile, 26, toured the world and won a Grammy as a member of Nickel Creek, and released his first solo album when he was only 13 (but he’s got nothing on Stevie Wonder, who cut his first album when he was 12). So, these cats have been around the block. They’ve played a lot of music.

And it shows on the new record, featuring 12 new tunes co-written by the duo. “Fence Post in the Front Yard” captures the string heroes playing intricate lines at impossibly fast tempos something they do very well. But, just moments later, Meyer is bowing some deep, funky stuff, and Thile is comping simply and it’s beautiful. They don’t just shred aimlessly sometimes, you’ve just got to shred. “FRB” kind of sounds like Thelonious Monk playing country music and the opening “Ham and Cheese,” clocking in at little more than two minutes, captures a pretty thumpin’ bass line from Meyer. Techno meets bluegrass?

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