Personalities | Nickel Creek | Alt. Country & The Bluegrass Revival
(Vocal/instrumental group, 1989–present)
Nickel Creek gave a youthful jolt to the bluegrass scene when the charismatic, virtuosic group released its Alison Krauss-produced, eponymous 2000 debut album before half the quartet had turned 20. The band formed in 1989 when Chris Thile (vocals, mandolin, b. 1981) met the siblings Sara Watkins (vocals, fiddle, b. 1981) and Scott Watkins (vocals, guitar, b. 1977) at a weekly bluegrass show at a San Diego pizza parlour. Chris Thile was the standout soloist early on, and his father Scott Thile was the bassist until 2001, when he was replaced by Tony Rice veteran Mark Schatz. But the Watkins kids soon blossomed, and Nickel Creek’s three albums plus its collaboration with Glen Phillips as The Mutual Admiration Society are all democratic collaborations that branch out into Anglo-Celtic folk music and chamber-folk instrumentals. Chris Thile has four solo albums, and Sean Watkins two.
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