Nickel Creek (#101)

An award-winning trio of “youthgrass” innovators.

With a track record that includes more than a decade as a band, two Grammy nominations, and a nod from Time magazine as one of five “Music Innovators for the Millennium,” Nickel Creek is well on its way toward establishing itself as a respected veteran group. This Jubilee performance captures the band at the beginning of all the buzz, when two of its members were still in their teens and the other in his early 20s, and demonstrates their unique brand of contemporary acoustic bluegrass, or “youthgrass.”

Though Nickel Creek was originally conceived as a pure bluegrass band, members Chris Thile, Sean Watkins, and Sara Watkins say that the sound is now “a conglomeration of everything we listen to.” Chris further explains, “It’s like having paintbrushes in all different sizes and shapes. Each brush paints color in a different way. What we’re trying to do is grab a really interesting brush and then blend all the various colors—of all the genres of music we love.”

Nickel Creek’s Jubilee performance, which includes Chris on mandolin; his father, Scott Thile, on upright bass; Sara on fiddle; and Sean on guitar and mandolin, shows off the band’s phenomenal musicianship and songwriting abilities. It was recorded at the 1998 Kentucky Folk Festival in Bardstown, KY.