A Dotted Line

About a month ago, Emily wrote a post about her favorite Nickel Creek songs in anticipation for their upcoming new album, which came out Tuesday. For those who don’t know, Nickel Creek is a progressive bluegrass band consisting of brother and sister duo Sean (guitar) and Sara Watkins (violin) and mandolinist Chris Thile. All three members contribute vocals. Nickel Creek formed in 1989 when Sara and Chris were 8 and Sean was 12. I think it’s safe to say that each member of Nickel Creek was a child prodigy, and this year they celebrate their 25th band anniversary, even though they are all still young.

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Thile (left), Sean (middle), and Sara (right)

In honor of their 25th anniversary, Nickel Creek came together to write a new album, released April 1, entitled “A Dotted Line”. Personally, I have been listening to it all week. Each song is amazing, reminiscent Nickel Creek’s traditional sound from their past three albums while simultaneously pressing forward into a new sound reflective of the musical journey of each band member since leaving Nickel Creek.

In truth, there’s nothing I can say that Ann Powers didn’t say in her article on Nickel Creek for NPR. Nickel Creek’s new album “A Dotted Line” showcases the talent of Chris, Sara, and Sean both in their voices and instruments. It also features staples that fans have come to expect in each album—beautiful instrumentals, haunting ballads, creative covers, and lively new songs. Here are some of my favorites:

Destination

This song may not sound very bluegrass-y, but it exemplifies the kind of harmonization only possible after 25 years of singing bluegrass together. ‘Destination’ has a catchy tune and great lyrics, but the subtle genius of the harmonization of all three voices makes it a superb song.

Christmas Eve

Again with the harmonization, especially with the round at the end. It’s amazing and beautiful. This song, like ‘Destination’, is also a great example of how Nickel Creek pushes the bluegrass envelope so much that they’ve created a new genre just for themselves.

Hayloft

Nickel Creek has the unique ability to take a terrible song and turn it into a fantastic cover, from Britney Spear’s ‘Toxic’ to this Canadian pop song. It really showcases their ability to arrange songs as creatively as they write them.

Where Is Love Now

Another beautiful arrangement of an old song. Sara Watkin’s voice is ethereal and grounded at the same time, and the result is sheer beauty. This might be my favorite song on the album, though it feels impossible to choose.

Elsie/Elephant in the Corn

Both wonderful instrumental songs. The members of Nickel Creek are all such talented musicians. It’s just as entertaining to listen to their instruments as it is their voices. It isn’t fair that three people can have so much talent.

ImageIf you haven’t picked up Nickel Creek’s new album “A Dotted Line” yet, do it now. Each song is worth the price of the entire album. It might be my favorite album of theirs yet, though it is difficult to choose. Anyone who likes Nickel Creek or bluegrass/alternative music will love this album. I can’t stop listening to it. And I can’t wait until I get to see Nickel Creek in concert in May!!!

Check out Nickel Creek’s performance for the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon:

 

Helena

and

Destination

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