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Nickel Creek
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Three guys, a girl, and a Pizza place? 

It could easily have been the name of one of the freshest new acts in Bluegrass today, Nickel Creek. It all started out so innocently. Scott Thile took his family out to ‘That Pizza Place’ in Carlsbad, Ca.

They just happen to have a great band playing there! His son, Chris got hooked on ‘That’ kind of music, especially the mandolin! Chris started taking lessons from one of the band members, John Moore. Then he met Sean Watkins , who was also taking mandolin lessons, and Sara Watkins, who was learning to play fiddle from Dennis Caplinger. According to Chris, "We started jamming in the halls leading to the bathrooms, pretty soon they put us up on stage! (Maybe to clear the hall.) Sean played a little guitar, so rather than having 2 mandolin players, he switched over to that. We talked my Dad into playing stand up bass with us. Dad says he’s ready to phase himself out of the group now. He’s got Mom, my 2 brothers, and a real job to take care of. Guess you could say he has a real life. He’s a professional instrument technician, which comes in handy when we travel. We usually fly to our gigs, and there’s been a few times when the bridge on his bass has been damaged going through the luggage routine. Sean’s been lucky so far with his guitar. Being smaller instruments, Sara and I usually get to take ours with us as carry on luggage."

With their schedules, public school hours would have been too tough, so their parents opted for home schooling. They’ve been traveling, and winning contests, for years. At 15 years old, Sara won the Arizona State Fiddle Championship. At 16, Sean was a finalist on mandolin, and guitar, at the National Flatpicking Guitar Championship. For the past four years, Chris has been a finalist for the IBMA’s Mandolinist of The Year. It only seems fitting that they also won the Southwest Regional Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Band Championship.

"After trying out a lot of different group names, we chose Nickel Creek, from a Bluegrass song. We found out from the writer that the song originated from the name of a ranch in Texas, so we went down to the ranch and played. We promised the owner we’d come back to play more often."

During one of their shows, they had a surprise visitor come backstage to tell them how much she loved their music. Chris said, " I think we were all kind of went into shock! Allison Krauss liked our music! So when we got our record deal with Sugarhill, and they ask us about a producer, we ask for Allison. We thought they’d tell us we were crazy for asking, ‘cause she’s such a big star. But they agreed to ask her, and she agreed to take on the project. "We were real concerned about our songwriting. Wondering if she would think we had anything good enough for the album. Out of 12 songs, there’s four of mine, and four of Sean’s that made the cut, including our first release ‘Reason’s Why’. It’s in heavy rotation on CMT, and the album is available, and selling pretty well, at Amazon.com."

Nickel Creek is giving Bluegrass a facelift! "Especially in the audience," Chris said. "There’s definitely a changing trend. Bluegrass used to be considered just for the older fans. But it can be very hip, if you only let it. We don’t do the ‘grunge’ act like in Pop music, but our music is different than what you normally call Bluegrass, and appeals to all age groups. Being on Sugarhill Records with some of the greatest Bluegrass and Alternative acts out there, like Dolly Parton, Doc Watson, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, is definitely a great influence." To learn more about Nickel Creek, and other new, and legendary, Bluegrass acts check out sugarhillrecords.com!

Come join the growing number of Indy acts marketing their CD’s in the Independent Music Store at www.songtek.com www.allhits.com and www.joleneskitchen.com

Hot New Artists

The Brooklyn Cowboys, ‘Doin Time on Planet Earth’

According to Walter Egan (center), "We’re picking up where Gram Parson’s left off." Egan, being Parson’s crony and co-writer, can honestly say this. ‘Carolina Calypso’ was the last song Egan co-wrote with Gram, before his untimely death. A great blend of country, western, and American roots music which is now playing on a variety of radio formats. If you’re listening for some ‘fresh’ sounds in music, this is the album to buy!

I caught up with Broken Bow Record’s new acts, Damon Gray & Joanie Keller at the Wildhorse Saloon during Fan Fair. Damon’s new album ‘Lookin’ for Trouble’ and Joanie’s album, ‘Sparks are Gonna Fly’, got rave reviews from the audience, and packed the dance floor. They’re making great ‘steps’ in the industry for folks who love the sound of traditional country music!
Indy's come join the Artist's marketing their Tapes/CD's at www.songtek.com, and advertising at www.allhits.com.
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Recipe
Steve Wariner’s ‘Leftover Ham Pie’

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
Sliced ham
1 tsp. Green onion
1 ˝ cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
Salt/pepper to taste

Grease pie pan, lay ham in bottom of pan, sprinkle on half of the cheese, green onion- mix Jiffy per directions and pour on top. Sprinkle on rest of cheese. Bake @ 350 about 20 minutes

 

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