Saturday, November 18, 2006

nickel creek anticipates hiatus

I first saw Nickel Creek at Merlefest, a few years ago, where they absolutely stole the show, and in a sense it was a passing of the torch from one generation to the next. Chris Thile, the mandolinist, was so astonishing that I imagined this must have been what it was like to see a Jimi Hendrix and Jaco Pastorius in concert. I later saw them with my older daughter and a friend of hers at the Stevens Center in Winston-Salem, and they were innovative, fresh and totally engaged with their craft and the audience.

I was saddened, but not surprised to learn recently that they are taking a break from each other in late 2007. This from their website ( see links to the right, which will also refer you to a review in Billboard Magazine):

"Dearest Listener,

After seven years of extensive touring in support of three records (seventeen years as a band), we've decided to take a break of indefinite length at the end of 2007 to preserve the environment we've sought so hard to create and to pursue other interests. It has been a pleasure to write, record, and perform for you through the years and we'd like to heartily thank you for your invaluable contribution to our musical lives.

Yours, Nickel Creek (Sean, Sara, and Chris)"

Chris Thile has a solo cd out now, and Sara (the violinist) posted this soundtrack on her "myspace"...she has great taste in music:

1. Don't Do it - The Band
2. Jolene - Dolly
3. Don't Pass Me By - The Beatles
4. I Ain't Got Nobody - Bob Wills
5. Sin City - The Flying Burrito Brothers
6. Blizzard of 77 - Nada Surf
7.Where Will I Be - Emmylou Harris
8. I've Always been a Rambler - Gene Autry
9. Kapten Kapsyl - Vasen
10. It Takes Time - Glen Phillips demo
11. Long Hard Road - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
12. Black Star - Radiohead
13. Everyman a King - Randy Newman
14. Supposed to Make you Happy - Tift Merritt
15. John Riley the Shepherd - ?
16. Blue Shadows on the Trail - Roy Rogers
17. A shot in the Arm - Wilco
18. A Living Prayer - Alison Krauss and Union Station
19. Do Wacka Do - Roger Miller.

I imagine that the three of them will continue to record music (solo), and that each will continue to enrich the music of the other. Nickel Creek's genius was in the improvisational nature of their bluegrass, which owed as much to Miles Davis as Earl Scruggs. I admire their maturity in recognizing that something pretty wonderful has happened through them, and this path may be the way of not only preserving the music and the friendships, but also freeing them to move into the future.


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