Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer

The Town Hall / New York, NY

Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer
Chris Thile (left) and Edgar Meyer

Two extraordinary minds, 20 well-trained fingers and 14 ordinary strings comprise the instrumental duo of Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer. The red velvet seats of the Town Hall were filled with an eager audience, ready to be astounded by the musical abilities and personalities of these two men.

Thile and Meyer, both MacArthur Genius Grant recipients, are truly masters of their craft. Thile, on mandolin, makes wild expressions, dancing dramatically and communicating seemingly telepathically with Meyer, who remains stoic on the bass, playing both arco and pizzicato, utilizing a unique style that makes him the premier bassist today.

Aside from its two stars, this performance featured no background musicians or vocals, but the two did branch out to a new set of strings: Thile to guitar and Meyer to piano, playing one song in that permutation, then one piano/mandolin and one guitar/bass, all completely lovely.

The show even featured audience interaction. After playing a jaunty song, Thile confessed to the audience that the song was nameless due to its variation every time it’s performed. He said that they have been asking audiences in each city they’ve played to name it—“Wombat Soup” in Seattle and “Song Titles Can’t Be Copywritten” in LA. New York’s first suggestion was “Freebird” and the last suggestion was “Why Don’t You Play the Next Song?” to which Thile replied, “Why don’t you play the next song?”

This exquisite show met every expectation for the well-respected duo, both masters of their craft and rock stars of sorts.

– Kelsey Drain

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