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Rock/pop

Chris Thile: Thanks for Listening

Thanks for Listening
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    Very much a meditative, singer-songwriter affair, Thank You for Listening finds Chris Thile offering bromides to a society roiled by political, social media, and cultural upheavals in 2017. Playing almost all the stringed instruments himself—with the mandolin employed in an Impressionistic manner—and joined vocally on occasion by Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan, and Gaby Moreno, Thile gracefully, nay ethereally, serves up ten songs he wrote last year for A Prairie Home Companion. So composed is he in his task that listeners may miss the seething undercurrent fueling lyrics inveighing against the alienating dangers of social media in the echo-laced “Feedback Loop” but will have no trouble identifying the object of derisive barbs hurled in the more muscular “Falsetto” (“Froggy thinks his whistle is the Liberty Bell,” for one). Balancing the scales to the positive side, in the celebratory “Thank You, New York,” with Moreno adding hearty harmonizing, Thile not only gives a shout-out to inclusiveness but takes off on a virtuosic mandolin romp at the midway point. “Through the din of a boorish year,” to cop a Thile lyric, Thanks for Listening emerges as a subtle, compelling work.

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