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  • Tuesday, November 25, 2008
    Nonesuch Signs Sara Watkins
    Jeremy Cowart

    Nonesuch Records has signed singer/songwriter/fiddle player Sara Watkins, best known as a founding member of the Grammy Award–winning, critically acclaimed, and platinum-selling band Nickel Creek. With Nickel Creek on indefinite hiatus, she has made her self-titled debut solo album, recorded in Los Angeles and Nashville and produced by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. Nonesuch will release Sara Watkins on April 7, 2009.

    Sara Watkins features a wide range of colleagues and old friends, including alt-country duo Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench, Elvis Costello drummer Pete Thomas; colleagues from the bluegrass world like Tim O’Brien, Punch Brothers’ Chris Eldridge, Ronnie McCoury, and Rayna Gellert; and her Nickel Creek bandmates Chris Thile and Sean Watkins. Already widely respected for her musical ability on the fiddle, Watkins’ skills as a vocalist and songwriter are highlighted on this solo project. She wrote or co-wrote eight of the 14 songs on the record, which also includes renditions of tracks by Jimmie Rodgers, Jon Brion, Norman Blake, and Tom Waits.

    When not on the road or in the studio with Nickel Creek, Watkins guest-starred as fiddler and/or harmony vocalist on albums by Béla Fleck, the Chieftains, Ben Lee, Dan Wilson, Richard Thompson, and Alex Woodward, among others. In addition, Watkins and her brother Sean established an informal residency called the Watkins Family Hour at the L.A. club Largo. It was there that she developed and fine-tuned the repertoire for the album: “I had lived with a lot of this material for a while. It was tested and tweaked through the years playing at Largo. Songs would come and go; these are the songs that have stuck.”

    Watkins got to know John Paul Jones when they briefly toured together in 2004 in an ad hoc group called Mutual Admiration Society. He had long encouraged her to make a record of her own, offering his services. As Watkins recalls, “A couple of years ago I saw John Paul Jones at the Cambridge folk festival. He came up after Nickel Creek’s performance and said that if I didn’t let him produce my record he would never talk to me again. I was thrilled that he was that excited about it.” She continues, “John was an absolute dream to work with. I can’t imagine anyone else with whom I would have felt more confident or comfortable. I think his undeniable musicianship and kindness made the ensemble on each song sound like a band that had played together for years.”

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Nonesuch Signs Sara Watkins

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on November 25, 2008 - 9:41am
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - 14:45
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Nonesuch Records has signed singer/songwriter/fiddle player Sara Watkins, best known as a founding member of the Grammy Award–winning, critically acclaimed, and platinum-selling band Nickel Creek. With Nickel Creek on indefinite hiatus, she has made her self-titled debut solo album, recorded in Los Angeles and Nashville and produced by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. Nonesuch will release Sara Watkins on April 7, 2009.

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Nonesuch Records has signed singer/songwriter/fiddle player Sara Watkins, best known as a founding member of the Grammy Award–winning, critically acclaimed, and platinum-selling band Nickel Creek. With Nickel Creek on indefinite hiatus, she has made her self-titled debut solo album, recorded in Los Angeles and Nashville and produced by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. Nonesuch will release Sara Watkins on April 7, 2009.

Sara Watkins features a wide range of colleagues and old friends, including alt-country duo Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench, Elvis Costello drummer Pete Thomas; colleagues from the bluegrass world like Tim O’Brien, Punch Brothers’ Chris Eldridge, Ronnie McCoury, and Rayna Gellert; and her Nickel Creek bandmates Chris Thile and Sean Watkins. Already widely respected for her musical ability on the fiddle, Watkins’ skills as a vocalist and songwriter are highlighted on this solo project. She wrote or co-wrote eight of the 14 songs on the record, which also includes renditions of tracks by Jimmie Rodgers, Jon Brion, Norman Blake, and Tom Waits.

When not on the road or in the studio with Nickel Creek, Watkins guest-starred as fiddler and/or harmony vocalist on albums by Béla Fleck, the Chieftains, Ben Lee, Dan Wilson, Richard Thompson, and Alex Woodward, among others. In addition, Watkins and her brother Sean established an informal residency called the Watkins Family Hour at the L.A. club Largo. It was there that she developed and fine-tuned the repertoire for the album: “I had lived with a lot of this material for a while. It was tested and tweaked through the years playing at Largo. Songs would come and go; these are the songs that have stuck.”

Watkins got to know John Paul Jones when they briefly toured together in 2004 in an ad hoc group called Mutual Admiration Society. He had long encouraged her to make a record of her own, offering his services. As Watkins recalls, “A couple of years ago I saw John Paul Jones at the Cambridge folk festival. He came up after Nickel Creek’s performance and said that if I didn’t let him produce my record he would never talk to me again. I was thrilled that he was that excited about it.” She continues, “John was an absolute dream to work with. I can’t imagine anyone else with whom I would have felt more confident or comfortable. I think his undeniable musicianship and kindness made the ensemble on each song sound like a band that had played together for years.”

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Sara Watkins bw by Jeremy Cowart

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