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CHRIS THILE

  • Originally from San Diego (CA) County. Born in Oceanside, lived in Idyllwild, California. Now lives in New York City.
  • Pronounced “Theé-lee” (like “really.”)
  • Took mandolin lessons from John Moore (of California and Bluegrass Etc.)
  • Hobby: baseball card collecting and playing baseball. He was a star little-league pitcher. His great-great-great-great uncle Sam Thompson is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • 1989, at age 9 formed the band Nickel Creek with friends Sean and Sara Watkins (guitar/fiddle) of Vista, California.
  • 1990, 1994, won the Arizona State Mandolin Championship.
  • 1993 (at age 12) won the National Mandolin Championship (the youngest winner ever.)
  • 1993, (at age 12) released first solo album Leading Off (Sugar Hill), produced by Peter Wernick.
  • 1994, worked with Richard Greene’s band “The Grass is Greener.”
  • 1994, released second solo album Stealing Second (Sugar Hill).
  • 1995, his family moved to Murray, Kentucky. His father Scott (original bass player with Nickel Creek) was employed by Murray State University as a musical instrument technician.
  • 1997, appeared on Grammy-winning album True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe (Sugar Hill).
  • 1999, recorded and toured with Dolly Parton.
  • 2000, with Nickel Creek, won IBMA award for Emerging Artist of the Year.
  • 2001, his performance of “Ode to a Butterfly” (from Nickel Creek album) was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Recording.
  • 2001, won the IBMA award for Mandolin Player of the Year.  Nickel Creek also won the award for Instrumental Group of the Year.
  • 2001, released solo project Not All Who Wander Are Lost (Sugar Hill).
  • 2002, toured and recorded with Mike Marshall.
  • 2004, released solo project Deceiver (Sugar Hill).
  • 2006, recorded solo project How to Grow a Woman From the Ground (Sugar Hill).
    Began touring with his own band featuring Noam Pikelny (banjo), Gabe Witcher (fiddle) and Chris Eldridge (guitar) as the “Tensions Mountain Boys.” The band name was later changed to The Punch Brothers.
  • 2007, last Nickel Creek performance.
  • 2009, performed a concerto that he wrote for the mandolin with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra.
  • 2010, recorded and toured with Dierks Bentley.
  • 2011, recorded an album of duets with guitarist Michael Daves called “Sleep With One Eye Open.”
  • 2011, performed and recorded with Edgar Meyer, Stuart Duncan and Yo-Yo Ma as The Goat Rodeo Sessions.
  • 2012, received the McArthur Foundation “Genius Award” ($500,000).
  • 2013, released album of classical mandolin solos Bach: Sonatas & Partitas.
  • 2013, married actress Claire Coffee (of NBC’s Grimm).
  • 2014, recorded a new Nickel Creek album “A Dotted Line,” touring with the reunited group to celebrate their 25th anniversary.
  • 2014, released Bass & Mandolin album with bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer.
  • 2016, became the permanent host of “A Prairie Home Companion” radio program, replacing Garrison Keillor. In 2017, the show was re-named “Live From Here.”
  • 2018, was presented with a Distinguished Achievement Award by the IBMA.
Artist List

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