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Nickel Creek|Why Should The Fire Die?

Why Should The Fire Die?

Nickel Creek

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Few aspiring bluegrass artists have tackled the genre as unpredictably as Nickel Creek. For their third offering, the precocious trio have ditched longtime producer Alison Krauss in favor of Tony Berg and Eric Valentine (Smash Mouth, Queens of the Stone Age, Good Charlotte), and quietly crafted one of the most explosive acoustic records of the year. Longtime fans who were mystified by Chris Thile's experimental 2004 solo release Deceiver may cock their collective heads in dismay, but those who appreciate the group's searing musicianship, orgasmic harmonies, and genre-bending arrangements will no doubt wear out their copies of Why Should the Fire Die? within the first month of ownership. Darker, colder, and infinitely more aggressive than their previous offerings, WSTFD is -- in spirit only -- the progressive bluegrass/folk-pop genre's reply to Radiohead's Kid A. "When in Rome," with its radio signal crackle and full-band boot stomps asks, "Where can a dead man go/A question with an answer only dead men know." It's a chilly way to open a record, but it's also a declaration of independence from three friends who have known nothing but the stage since they were in single digits, and are determined to meet their mid-twenties head on. There's a newfound penchant for percussion throughout WSTFD that's not nearly as invasive as purists might think. While the ferocious "Helena" is the only track that features actual drums, bassist Mark Schatz is veritable one-man drum corps, dropping sinister slides and buzz-filled ringers that when paired with Thile and Sean Watkins's mandolin/mandola/guitar work is pure analogue thunder. This combination is at its most effective on the moody Gillian Welch-meets-the Beach Boys majesty of the album's brooding centerpiece, "Eveline." A masterful display of dynamics, it blurs the line between pop, progressive rock, and country with a magic marker the size of Texas. Even the more traditional numbers like "Jealous of the Moon," "Can't Complain," and "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" -- the latter, sung by the honey-throated Sara Watkins, proves once and for all that Bob Dylan songs were placed on this earth to be interpreted by others -- are infused with the kind of electricity usually reserved for bands with vintage amplifiers and substance abuse problems. Why Should the Fire Die? is a brave album that warrants more than a passing glance from country and bluegrass purists, and the full support of the indie rock/folk/pop community.
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo

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Why Should The Fire Die?

Nickel Creek

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1
When In Rome
00:04:15

Chris Thile, Composer - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

2
Somebody More Like You
00:03:01

Sean Watkins, Composer - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

3
Jealous Of The Moon
00:04:41

Chris Thile, Composer - Gary Louris, Composer - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

4
Scotch & Chocolate
00:03:08

Chris Thile, Composer - Sara Watkins, Composer - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

5
Can't Complain
00:05:34

Chris Thile, Composer - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

6
Tomorrow Is A Long Time
00:03:36

Bob Dylan, ComposerLyricist - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

7
Eveline
00:03:11

Chris Thile, Composer - Sean Watkins, Composer - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

8
Stumptown
00:01:43

Chris Thile, Composer - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

9
Anthony
00:01:55

Sara Watkins, Composer - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

10
Best Of Luck
00:03:22

Chris Thile, Composer - Sara Watkins, Composer - Sean Watkins, Composer - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

11
Doubting Thomas
00:03:19

Chris Thile, Composer - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

12
First And Last Waltz
00:01:53

Chris Thile, Composer - Sara Watkins, Composer - Sean Watkins, Composer - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

13
Helena
00:04:45

Chris Thile, Composer - Sara Watkins, Composer - Sean Watkins, Composer - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

14
Why Should The Fire Die?
00:02:50

Chris Thile, Composer - Sara Watkins, Composer - Sean Watkins, Composer - Nickel Creek, MainArtist

(C) 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company ℗ 2005 Sugar Hill Records, A Welk Music Group Company

Album Description

Few aspiring bluegrass artists have tackled the genre as unpredictably as Nickel Creek. For their third offering, the precocious trio have ditched longtime producer Alison Krauss in favor of Tony Berg and Eric Valentine (Smash Mouth, Queens of the Stone Age, Good Charlotte), and quietly crafted one of the most explosive acoustic records of the year. Longtime fans who were mystified by Chris Thile's experimental 2004 solo release Deceiver may cock their collective heads in dismay, but those who appreciate the group's searing musicianship, orgasmic harmonies, and genre-bending arrangements will no doubt wear out their copies of Why Should the Fire Die? within the first month of ownership. Darker, colder, and infinitely more aggressive than their previous offerings, WSTFD is -- in spirit only -- the progressive bluegrass/folk-pop genre's reply to Radiohead's Kid A. "When in Rome," with its radio signal crackle and full-band boot stomps asks, "Where can a dead man go/A question with an answer only dead men know." It's a chilly way to open a record, but it's also a declaration of independence from three friends who have known nothing but the stage since they were in single digits, and are determined to meet their mid-twenties head on. There's a newfound penchant for percussion throughout WSTFD that's not nearly as invasive as purists might think. While the ferocious "Helena" is the only track that features actual drums, bassist Mark Schatz is veritable one-man drum corps, dropping sinister slides and buzz-filled ringers that when paired with Thile and Sean Watkins's mandolin/mandola/guitar work is pure analogue thunder. This combination is at its most effective on the moody Gillian Welch-meets-the Beach Boys majesty of the album's brooding centerpiece, "Eveline." A masterful display of dynamics, it blurs the line between pop, progressive rock, and country with a magic marker the size of Texas. Even the more traditional numbers like "Jealous of the Moon," "Can't Complain," and "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" -- the latter, sung by the honey-throated Sara Watkins, proves once and for all that Bob Dylan songs were placed on this earth to be interpreted by others -- are infused with the kind of electricity usually reserved for bands with vintage amplifiers and substance abuse problems. Why Should the Fire Die? is a brave album that warrants more than a passing glance from country and bluegrass purists, and the full support of the indie rock/folk/pop community.
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo

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