#2 – Nickel Creek

I’m determined to get through this list, and after this post, there will only be one more group to go.

Number two on my list of top 10 contemporary music groups is Nickel Creek.  Three albums (and interestingly, a greatest hits CD) into their career as a group, there is already talk that there may not be another Nickel Creek album.  It’s not because their records don’t sell (they do), nor is it because they’re not very good (they most certainly are).  Actually, each member is so good individually that they may branch out into their own solo careers, doing their own meandering-bluegrass-musician thing.

As a group, Nickel Creek is phenomenally talented on their instruments.  Brother and sister Sean and Sara Watkins are proficient on the guitar and fiddle, respectively, and their talent combines well with mandolin player Chris Thile.   The result of their collaboration is a textured sound unmatched by any instrumental group.  On top of their easily-discernible ability to play instruments, each member can sing well, and they add thoughtful lyrics and great harmonies to their instrumental works.

There are few complete packages like this in music.  Any group I’ve heard that’s like them has typically become too ambitious, leaving the listener-friendly sound behind.  Nickel Creek manages to display their talent, but they still keep their sound accessible.

It’s really a shame that I never would have heard of Nickel Creek had they not played a show at Harding or been one of my suitemate’s favorite groups.  Luckily, I did go see them when I had the chance, and I’m sure I’ll never regret it.  Their show didn’t cause the ruckus that Robert Randolph’s did, but it was still great.

Here’s my list of top Nickel Creek songs:

  1. This Side
  2. When in Rome
  3. Doubting Thomas
  4. The Lighthouse’s Tale
  5. Green and Gray
  6. The Fox
  7. I Should’ve Known Better
  8. Reasons Why
  9. The Smoothie Song
  10. Spit on a Stranger

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