The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Nickel Creek reconvenes after hiatus to craft cohesive new album

In 2007 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., Nickel Creek, a band whose members had been together since they played bluegrass festivals as children, performed what it called its last show and began a supposedly indefinite hiatus. 

Chris Thile, mandolinist, then had a booming solo career and worked on more classical music. Sara Watkins, fiddler, and her brother, Sean Watkins, guitarist, both worked in other bands and on  solo albums.  

In the documentary “How to Grow a Band,” Thile said when shifting from playing bluegrass festivals to becoming a band in the public eye with demanding record labels, the members of Nickel Creek were afraid to lose their band on that journey.  

“Through no fault of Nickel Creek, we had to think about who would buy (our albums),” Thile said. “That’s just where it all went eventually … Ultimately, Sean, Sara and I lost control over the mechanism that was Nickel Creek.”

However, Nickel Creek’s members have grabbed the band’s reigns once again. After random reunions at festivals, Nickel Creek is back together and touring with new album, “A Dotted Line,” which releases Tuesday. 

Thile is nothing if not talented in every possible mandolin style. As a result, Nickel Creek fans know the next song on a Nickel Creek album could be a bluegrass riff, a folk song, something that resembles a rock song or a ballad. 

The range of style on “A Dotted Line” is no surprise. Sara Watkins told Nate Chinen of the New York Times that the members have been able to add to each other’s songs now more than ever. 

Chinen said another element of “A Dotted Line” that shows a point of maturity for the band is the album’s soaring, dipping vocal harmonies. 

“The most striking feature about ‘A Dotted Line’ is the sheer strength of the singing and the frequency with which it takes flight in three-part harmony,” he said. 

Sara Watkins and Thile have always had a beautiful two-part harmony while Sean Watkins took the backseat. But now, the album consists of some songs composed with more equal collaboration. Sean Watkins’s vocals shine in his beautifully sad song “Christmas Eve,” and more tunes include three-part harmonies. 

The band’s hiatus served its intended purpose. Each member pursued new facets of music, matured in his or her style and reconvened with fresh force and vision. 

Jay Sweet, producer of the influential Newport Folk Festival, at which the band has played, said he is excited to host the band this summer, a time he called the peak of the band members’ abilities. 

“To our audience, this is a super group because the fans know these artists from their individual things, not as a band,” he said.

Nickel Creek is no longer Chris Thile and friends. Each member shines as a talented musician and writer. The band is a super group now more than ever, which its sold-out shows and packed music festival performances indicate. 

The band members have not indicated whether Nickel Creek is back together for a while or what future albums consist of, but hopefully its tour kicking off in mid April will stay grounded in its vision for Nickel Creek and keep it together. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Nickel Creek reconvenes after hiatus to craft cohesive new album