Every so often I make up a mix CD of my favorite songs at the moment; mostly new songs, but with some old songs sprinkled in for flavor. I thought it’d be a neat feature of this new blog to go through, song-by-song, and explain a little about why it appeals to me.
I’ve raved a lot about my favorite band Nickel Creek, and most of it has been due to their mandolinist Chris Thile. But the other members of the group, Sara Watkins and her brother Sean are quite talented themselves. Sean has released solo albums, as Chris has, but I hadn’t taken a listen to any of his work until his recent release, Blinders On.
Sean was the guitarist for Nickel Creek. He started out by playing mandolin, but switched to guitar shortly after. In his solo work, he originally played bluegrass music only, but through Nickel Creek’s influence and his own shift in taste, started incorporating more of a rock edge. I’d say that his work is probably more rock-oriented than the group’s or Chris’s music, but of course the bluegrass influence is still prevalent.
The winter mix starts out with an ethereal track called, appropriately enough (at the time), “Happy New Year”. It’s nearly instrumental, and really shows off Sean’s guitar playing. He certainly isn’t as talented a singer or songwriter as Chris, but that’s a pretty high bar to set. (I was surprised that it was Sean, not Chris, that wrote and did the lead vocals on one of my favorite Nickel Creek songs, “Speak” (video).)
Now that the band has amicably parted, Sean wants to continue his solo work, as well as collaborate with other artists. He’s also mentioned a desire to compose soundtracks for films.
Next time: A classic from a legendary songwriter