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Nickel Creek

'Fire' Flies

NickelEclectic bluegrass-influenced outfit Nickel Creek bottles the energy of its acclaimed live shows on "Why Should the Fire Die?," due this week 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 says. "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."