Chris Thile and Michael Daves, two legends of modern bluegrass (Thile as a mandolin phenom and Daves as a superior guitar picker) have decided to team up with Jack White at Third Man Studios in Nashville to record Sleep With One Eye Open, due out May 10th on Nonesuch. The album, which features the two phenomenal musicians recorded during four days of marathon studio sessions, may be the closest Thile has come to recording a “straightforward” bluegrass record, but no one’s expecting the duo to play it staid and conventional.
“Mandolin and guitar and two male voices—it’s such a good sound,” Thile says of the new album. “It was important for us was to get that brother duet thing, but with this Lower East Side punk energy. One of the most enjoyable things about this experience was to underline the slightly delinquent side of bluegrass.”
And while Thile has frequently been something of a bastard stepson to the bluegrass elite, who have accused him of modernizing the genre at the expense of centuries-old traditions, he’s always been at the forefront of creating inventive, original concepts that push this roots music forward into a new century. Here’s hoping this album helps bridge the gap between the new guard and the traditionalists, because Chris Thile is by all accounts the most interesting musician bluegrass has had to offer a new generation.
Check out the title track from Sleep With One Eye Open below: