Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Show of the Week: Sara Watkins at the Southgate House, Saturday, May 9

After spending eighteen years as the fiddler in Nickel Creek, Sara Watkins has put out her first solo release, and is embarking on the first headlining tour of her career. Nickel Creek formed in California in 1989 after the Watkins and Thile families met, when Sara was just a mere eight years old. Her brother, Sean, and Chris Thile had taken mandolin lessons together, although when the band formed, Thile was on guitar and Sean was on mandolin, however, soon after they would swap instruments, and eventually later, the trio would become the Grammy award winning outfit both you and I know. Nickel Creek went on an indefinite hiatus in 2007, with each of the members taking on various solo projects.

Released last month on Nonesuch Records, the self-titled debut of Sara Watkins features a slew of amazing musicians as well as some of her influences, including Tim O' Brien, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Ronnie McCoury, Chris Eldridge, Benmont Tech of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers and Pete Thomas, Elvis Costello's drummer. The album was produced by none other than the legendary John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, who also plays on the album.

She has said over and over again, that while the album may read like an all-star project, it is anything but that. There are fourteen tracks, eight of which are original numbers, while the other six are traditional folk and gospel tunes. Some of the cover songs include John Hartford's "Long Hot Summer Days", Jimmie Rodgers "Any Old Time", John Brion's "Same Mistakes", Norman Blake's "Lord, Won't You Help Me" and Tom Waits "Pony."

But the finest performances you'll find on the album are the original tracks, which include "All This Time", "Where Will You Be" and the instrumental "Freiderick." Her Nickel Creek bandmates even make appearances on the album, with her brother co-writing the instrumental just mentioned, while Thile and Sara worked together on "Give Me Jesus."

Unfortunately, her touring band won't include all of these musicians, but that's not to say it still won't be a great show. She's bringing along two other musicians on the road, one being her brother Sean on guitar and Sebastian Steinberg on bass.

The city of Cincinnati is very fortunate that Sara will be making a stop in our town. She plays the Southgate House on Saturday, May 9. Doors open at 8pm, and tickets are $20 at the door.

No comments: