Eclectic bluegrass-influenced outfit Nickel Creek bottles the energy of its acclaimed live shows on "Why Should the Fire Die?," due Aug. 9 via Sugar Hill. The 14-track set was produced by Tony Berg an

Eclectic bluegrass-influenced outfit Nickel Creek bottles the energy of its acclaimed live shows on "Why Should the Fire Die?," due Aug. 9 via Sugar Hill. The 14-track set was produced by Tony Berg and Eric Valentine, the recent co-founders of multi-faceted entertainment company 3 Entertainment.

"When you're so inside of what you do, it's very hard to realize what aspects of your energy are worth setting down for posterity," mandolin player Chris Thile tells Billboard.com. "So, it was a big deal to us to hook up with people whose perspective and evaluation of the band we felt so confident in."

The album features 13 originals, including a Thile co-write with the Jayhawks' Gary Louris ("Jealous of the Moon"), as well as a cover of Bob Dylan's "Tomorrow Is a Long Time."

"In terms of songwriting, we subjected ourselves to a lot more in-house criticism before Eric and Tony even got the material," Thile reveals. "On records past, [guitarist] Sean [Watkins] and I had just brought in material that was pretty much finished. We were not terribly interested in hearing anything other than 'no' or 'yes' from the other members of the band. But this time, a lot of choruses were changed. A lot of structures were altered."

Months after the session, Thile is still raving about collaborating with Louris. "There was another tune of ours that would have been on the record if we hadn't run out of space," he says. "A couple others got the axe late in the game. There's every chance in the world Gary and I will write again. It was really rewarding for both of us."

Nickel Creek's only confirmed upcoming show is Saturday (June 11) in Littleton, Colo., but the group is gearing up for a busy touring schedule later this year. A European jaunt is being assembled for early August, to be followed by a North American tour. "Playing live is the endgame for us," Thile says. "We're so excited to have a new group of tunes to play."

"Why Should the Fire Die?" is the follow-up to 2002's "This Side," which won a Grammy for best contemporary folk album and has sold more than 582,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.