Every so often I make up a mix CD of my favorite songs at the moment; mostly new songs, but with some old songs sprinkled in for flavor. I thought it’d be a neat feature of this new blog to go through, song-by-song, and explain a little about why it appeals to me.
Chris Thile may very well be my favorite individual musician. Hand-picked from a young age to be a phenom on the mandolin, he was hooked up with friend Sean Watkins and his sister Sara to form the bluegrass group Nickel Creek. But as a solo artist, even at a young age, he was (perhaps unwittingly) tapped to be the savior of the genre. However, as he grew into his music, many were disappointed with his choice to stray from the fundamental roots of bluegrass.
His (and others’, admittedly) creation was called “newgrass“. Heavy doses of rock and even hip-hop are blended with mandolin and banjo melodies. I don’t know if this digression and the perceived disappointment in him professionally phased him, but in a recent interview he’s stated that he’s over it. Regardless, this new fusion of my favorite genres is one of the more exciting things that I think has happened in recent music.
A particular subset of this fusion is the covering of songs from other genres in a bluegrass style. This one, The White Stripes‘ “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”, is a great example, and is particularly apt given Jack White‘s interest in bluegrass. However, I think that my favorite is The Gourds‘ cover of “Gin and Juice” by Snoop Doggy Dogg. I’ll see if I can find it somewhere and include it on a future CD.
Next time: another cover, this time Brit-on-Brit