How To Grow a Band
A fascinating and entertaining portrait of famed Bluegrass musician Chris Thile as he leaves his hugely popular band Nickel Creek to form the artistically ambitious Punch Brothers
In Person: Filmmaker Mark Meatto
In How To Grow A Band, 26-year-old Chris Thile is at a crossroads. His marriage has ended, and his platinum-selling band, Nickel Creek, has gone on "indefinite hiatus." But Thile, a perfectionist prodigy who's defied expectations since he learned the mandolin at age five, has a plan. Step 1: Write a 45-minute, four-movement elegy to your failed marriage to be played by a bluegrass quintet. Step 2: Recruit the only musicians around talented enough to play it and crazy enough to sign on. Step 3: Make a record, launch an international tour and brace yourself. Filmed with uncommon access, How To Grow A Band provides a rare look at the start of The Punch Brothers, one of America's most promising young bands and explores the tensions that test young artists: individual talents and group identity, craft and commerce, innocence and wisdom. (USA, 2011, 88 min., color / Director: Mark Meatto)
"They're astonishing, @#!*@ brilliant. The best jam band I've ever seen. I want to make a record with them."
- Elton John
"Chris Thile is a once in a century musician."
- T Bone Burnett
"One of the greatest young bands in the country."
- Vijith Assar, The Village Voice
"Five of the brightest young musicians on the planet." Columbia Tribune
Chris Thile, widely regarded as one of the most inventive musicians of his generation, is credited with helping elevate the mandolin from a relatively simple folk and bluegrass instrument to one brilliantly incorporated into the finest jazz improvisation and classical performance. For more than 15 years, Thile played in the wildly popular band Nickel Creek, with whom he released three albums, selling a combined 2 million records, was awarded a Grammy in 2002, and sold out concerts worldwide. As a soloist he has released four albums, and recently collaborated with legendary artists Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer on the genre-defying The Goat Rodeo Sessions (Sony Masterworks) which debuted in October 2011 at #1 simultaneously on Billboard's Classical, Classical Crossover and Bluegrass charts, and at #18 on Billboard's Top 200. He has also collaborated with a pantheon of bluegrass innovators including Béla Fleck, Dolly Parton, the Dixie Chicks, Jerry Douglas, and Sam Bush. Punch Brothers most recent album, Who's Feeling Young Now, was released on February 14 at #1 on the Bluegrass charts, #5 on the Folk chart, #19 on the Rock chart and an amazing #76 on the "Top 200."
Mark Meatto began his career apprenticing under cinema verité legend Richard Leacock. For seven years, Meatto worked with award winning filmmaker Ross McElwee, collaborating on two short films and co-editing Bright Leaves. His documentary feature credits also include Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L-1037 (Consulting Editor), Full Disclosure (Consulting Editor), The Windmill Movie (Camera), The Same River Twice (Assistant Editor) and Always a Bridesmaid (Assistant Editor). Currently he is producing Ross McElwee's next film.
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