Sara Watkins - Sara Watkins

Published Friday 8th May 2009
Sara Watkins - Sara Watkins
Sara Watkins - Sara Watkins

STYLE: Country
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 79830-15436
LABEL: Nonesuch 9798400
RELEASE DATE: 2009-05-29
RRP: £13.00

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

We hear that mainstream hitmakers Nickel Creek are no more which will be sad news to their legion of supporters who felt their contemporisation of bluegrass music brought new creative verve, not to mention image, to a form long associated with old men playing banjos on the back porch. Now Creek's singer and fiddle player Sara weighs in with her solo debut and, rather surprisingly considering this is largely a secular project with only a couple of God songs, Authentic Music are distributing it to Christian retail. But whatever its marketing niche, I can state categorically that it's rather splendid with simplicity of arrangement giving full emphasis to Sara's spine-tingling, crystal clear voice. First it was Robert Plant teaming up with Alison Krauss to give the two of them a mega hit. Now another Led Zeppelin survivor, John Paul Jones, has produced this delightful, understated set. One particularly poignant track is "Same Mistakes" while the Western swing approach given to "Any Old Time" is delightful. The accompanying musicians are top drawer - Dave Rawlings, Gillian Welch, Benmont Tench, Pete Thomas and Chris Eldridge plus some of her old Nickel Creek bandmates - and whether she's delivering Appalachian-style instrumentals, fragile old time waltzes, bringing new life to Tom Waits' "Pony" or singing wistful songs of faith ("Give Me Jesus") the effect is warm, tender-hearted and beautifully executed music from a singer with a truly exquisite voice.

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Product Description
Sara Watkins’s self-titled debut, eagerly anticipated by the significant fan base she’s built after nearly two decades as fiddle player and vocalist for Grammy Award-winning trio Nickel Creek, boasts and easygoing virtuosity. The youthful Watkins, who joined Nickel Creek when she was barely in her teens, displays formidable skill as a multi-instrumentalist, playing the guitar and ukelele as well as the fiddle, and is just as versatile, and breathtakingly mature, as a singer. Watkins incorporates folk, country, gospel and pop into her 14 song set, produced by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. Her self-penned fiddle songs are exuberant, foot stamping
instrumentals, while her songs for which she wrote both the lyrics and music have a heart-meltingly lovelorn quality. Watkins knows how to channel in her own work the plaintive emotions of classic country and timeless pop.

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