Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Nickel Creek: Rising to the...
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Nickel Creek: Rising to the Occasion

Kristi Kates - July 1st, 2014  

In 1989, a trio of precocious preteens played their first performance at a local Carlsbad, Calif. pizza parlor, billing themselves as The Nickel Creek Band.

After years on the road and a seven year hiatus – during which Nickel Creek bandmates Chris Thile, Sara Watkins, and Sean Watkins embarked on a range of solo projects – the band is stronger than ever and looking forward to their July 10 Interlochen show.


The prog-acoustic music trio is a rich combo of Thile’s mandolin, Sara Watkins’ fiddle, and Sean Watkins’ guitar. They broke out in 2000 with a debut album produced by Alison Krauss that hit platinum status.

By 2003, they’d won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

By 2007, they were ready for a break. “We were exhausted,” Sara Watkins said.

“Our musicianship had primarily been Nickel Creek, and we realized we wanted the time to freely pursue other projects without straining the band relationships.”

During their hiatus, Thile found success with Punch Brothers and his Goat Rodeo Sessions. Sean Watkins toured with his band Fiction Family (with Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman), and made a solo record that will hit stores this July.

And Sara Watkins toured with The Decemberists, Jackson Browne, and Prairie Home Companion, and is working on a third solo album of her own.

But the fans missed them – and the trio missed working with each other.


Sara Watkins said that the break was “absolutely a good idea.”

“It was very good and healthy,” she said.

“If you are in one band, you should be in two or three. Diversifying makes you a better musician onstage and off.”

The time away made each band member stronger as individuals, and when they lined back up in the studio and started working out their vocal harmonies, it was even more rewarding than before, she said.

“We like to sing together,” she said. The focus of their reunion became “A Dotted Line,” a new full-length album that the trio recorded with Eric Valentine at his studio in Los Angeles.

“He also produced our previous record, ‘Why Should the Fire Die,’ which was a terrific experience,” Watkins said.

Opening track “Rest of My Life” showcases a more refined Nickel Creek, and sets the tone for the rest of the album, the only diversion being a lighthearted cover of “Hayloft” that briefly adds drums into the mix.

The set clearly shows that this is a band that’s grown, and they’re now back to enjoying their own progress.


Sara Watkins said that the band enjoys playing all of the new material but is “careful” to include plenty of familiar favorites.

“We have been very careful to make sure that each show includes a healthy dose of material from all four records,” she said. “So some songs we just haven’t gotten to during our performances yet.”

That might change with their upcoming show at Interlochen, where all three bandmates have performed both as Nickel Creek, and also as members of other collaborations. It’s the perfect venue to try out new material, she said, as the Interlochen audiences are famously known throughout the musical community for welcoming new sounds, new artists, and experimentation.

“We all love playing Interlochen,” Watkins said. “One particular thing I love about playing there is that the audience is largely made up of musicians, so they pay attention to little details and react when they get excited. I’m looking forward to going back.”

Nickel Creek will be in concert at Interlochen’s Kresge Auditorium on July 10 at 8pm with special guest Sarah Jarosz. For tickets and more, visit tickets.interlochen.org.

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