Nickel Creek - Distinguished by their youth and
Nickel Creek became a word-of-mouth sensation on the
progressive bluegrass scene and soon found their appeal
the genre's core audience. Guitarist
Sean Watkins, fiddler
Sara Watkins (his younger sister), and
Chris Thile first started performing together in 1989,
when all three were preteens and taking music lessons in
their native San Diego. They met while watching the local
Bluegrass Etc., which put on weekly performances in a
pizza parlor. A bluegrass promoter liked the idea of such a
young band, and thus
Nickel Creek was formed, with
Thile's father Scott joining them on bass.
Nickel Creek were regulars on the festival circuit
through most of the '90s, and during that time,
Thile recorded two solo albums, 1994's Leading Off...
and 1997's Stealing Second. In 1998, with help from
Nickel Creek landed a record deal with the roots music
label Sugar Hill.
Krauss produced their self-titled debut album, which was
released in 2000; with the kids apparently all right, Scott
subsequently retired from the band. Though it was decidedly
a bluegrass record, Nickel Creek boasted elements of
classical, jazz, and rock & roll both classic and
alternative; naturally, the influence of progressive
bluegrass figures like
Edgar Meyer, and
Béla Fleck was also apparent.
Perhaps aided by the
success of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which brought
traditional roots music to a whole new collegiate audience,
Nickel Creek became a slow-building hit; by early 2002, it
had gone gold, climbed into the country Top 20, and earned a
Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album. Meanwhile,
Sean released his solo debut, Let It Fall, in 2001, and
Thile followed suit with Not All Who Wander Are Lost.
Nickel Creek released their sophomore set, This Side, in
2002; it debuted in the Top 20 of the pop charts and went
all the way to number two on the country listings. Even more
eclectic than its predecessor, the
Krauss-produced album turned indie rock fans' heads with
a cover of
Pavement's "Spit on a Stranger." This Side won a Grammy
for Best Contemporary Folk Album in early 2003, after which
Sean issued his second solo album, 26 Miles. In 2005,
the group worked with producers Tony Berg and Eric Valentine
(the latter had worked with Smashmouth and Queens of the
Stone Age) to produce Why Should the Fire Die?, a dark and
introspective collection of new material that found the trio
steering even further away from their bluegrass beginnings.
~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide
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Nickel Creek for your next corporate or private event.