I was never really into Nickel Creek. I was aware of them, sure, and generally assume that I would like them because I like folky, bluegrassy type-stuff. Although, admittedly during their heyday I was much more into dance rock and riot grrl so I likely would’ve scoffed at listening to something so…homespun. Music for hippies and people who wear denim shirts. Ehhhhh. These days, I’m older and a little wiser and my musical horizons are a little more open (and not as late night dance party/PBR-fueled). The fact that I’m featuring their superb cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Brokedown Palace” above would have been gag-inducing to my former self (seriously why did I hate hippies so much?).
Fiona Apple on the other hand, has always been a muse of mine and I love her more than words can tell. So, her involvement in Sara and Sean Watkins project was my gateway drug into their warm fiddle-inflected hootenanny music. Based on their long-running residency/open-mic at LA’s Largo, Watkins Family Hour is a covers record filled with ditties perfect for a dusty saloon. Apple’s insistent vocal take on Skeeter Davis’ “Where I Ought to Be” pulls at my guts and keeps my toes a-tapping. The sad lament that is “Not in Nottingham” from Disney’s 1973 Robin Hood is faithful to the original and downright lovely (I just watched this movie with my 16 month old, and the music is pretty fantastic overall, but just try not to sing this one in your head for days).
Now all that’s left to do is pull up a bar stool, grab a glass of whiskey with a beer chaser and get to shopping for some pieces that will help you fit right in to the family: