14 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s not surprising that Sara Watkins would make her 2009 solo debut an eclectic affair – as a mainstay with Nickel Creek, she’s often veered away from her bluegrass roots towards unfamiliar terrain. Sara Watkins, with Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones as producer, ventures out still further. Her crystalline voice and keening fiddle help maintain her connection with folk idioms and her unvarnished renditions of John Hartford’s “Long Hot Summer Days” and Tom Waits’ “Pony” are very much in a traditional grain, as is her string-band jam approach to Jimmie Rodgers’ “Any Old Time.” But there are modern pop elements to be found here as well, heard in the melancholy glide of “Same Mistakes” and the simmering groove of “Too Much.” Watkins’ original tunes add yet another distinctive twist — “Bygones” fuses lustrous harmonies with an oddly contoured melody, while “Where Will You Be” reveals a mature lyric sensibility. Call it alt-folk or acoustic art-pop, Sara Watkins is a delightfully diverse effort united by the artist’s understated virtuosity.

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s not surprising that Sara Watkins would make her 2009 solo debut an eclectic affair – as a mainstay with Nickel Creek, she’s often veered away from her bluegrass roots towards unfamiliar terrain. Sara Watkins, with Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones as producer, ventures out still further. Her crystalline voice and keening fiddle help maintain her connection with folk idioms and her unvarnished renditions of John Hartford’s “Long Hot Summer Days” and Tom Waits’ “Pony” are very much in a traditional grain, as is her string-band jam approach to Jimmie Rodgers’ “Any Old Time.” But there are modern pop elements to be found here as well, heard in the melancholy glide of “Same Mistakes” and the simmering groove of “Too Much.” Watkins’ original tunes add yet another distinctive twist — “Bygones” fuses lustrous harmonies with an oddly contoured melody, while “Where Will You Be” reveals a mature lyric sensibility. Call it alt-folk or acoustic art-pop, Sara Watkins is a delightfully diverse effort united by the artist’s understated virtuosity.

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