A16 - North Shore News - Friday, July 19, 2013
Sara Watkins starts over as a solo artist Fiddler goes it alone after group disbands
Nicholas M. Pescod Contributing Writer
SARA Watkins remembers her ﬁrst taste of bluegrass was in a pizzeria. “My parents took us when we were little to go see this bluegrass band Bluegrass Etc. that played every Saturday night at a pizza parlour near where we lived,” she says. “What got me into it was watching their interactions on stage and the improvisation and the fun that they had up there.” Eventually, Watkins grew to love the regular performances and wanted to become a performing artist herself. “I thought I could do this too,” Watkins says. “What I loved about it was this community around it as well.” By the time Watkins was eight she was already singing supplied photo and performing in front of audiences with her brother GRAMMY Award winner Sara Watkins is set to perform Sean, and Chris Thile as a at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival this weekend. member of Nickel Creek. Nineteen years later, The Californian says the biggest challenge Watkins will be performing at the Vancouver from transitioning from a band to a solo Folk Music Festival this weekend at Jericho artist was starting over and not having a team Beach Park in Vancouver. around. “I am really excited actually,” she says. “I “The biggest change for me was starting haven’t been to Vancouver in quite some time. over again,” she says. “The biggest change I’ve heard nothing but great things about the was taking care of myself, without this team of festival and I am really excited to bring my people that had helped me in Nickel Creek.” band up there.” “I think it has given me a lot of ﬁght and a Watkins career began as a member of lot of strength that I didn’t have before,” she the Grammy Award-winning bluegrass band adds. Nickel Creek. For 18 years and seven months, Watkins latest album, Sun Midnight Sun, Watkins performed all over the world with her was released in May of 2012 and features brother and Thile. Fiona Apple. “It was great. I loved my time with Nickel “I love Fiona, she is great,” Watkins says. Creek,” she says. “I was eight when the band “She’s been a part of the Watkins Family started and I was 27 when we did our farewell Hour, which is a show we’ve done in Los tour. It was incredible. That was my life and a Angeles for 10 years now. Fiona has been a huge learning experience as far as music and member of the family for years now. Whenever touring, and how to be a touring musician.” she’s in town she comes and plays a couple In 2007, Nickel Creek decided to call songs.” it a career after receiving four Grammy Apple is featured on Watkins’ song “You’re nominations and the Grammy Award for Best the One I Love,” which was originally Contemporary Folk Album in 2003. recorded by The Everly Brothers. She says “We just needed a break,” Watkins says. working with Apple was an intense experience. “We didn’t have time to do anything else. I “The Everly Brothers recorded it ﬁrst and think we were just exhausted a little bit.” It didn’t take long for the ﬁddler to embark I was listening to it and I thought this song should be a little more intense and I wanted on her own solo career. In 2009, Watkins to sing it with a girl. I immediately thought of released her ﬁrst solo album titled Sara Fiona,” she says. Watkins and says she has no regrets about “It was the most intense things I’ve ever departing from Nickel Creek. had in terms of focus. We sang the song “I stand behind that decision 100 per together looking at each other,” she adds. cent,” Watkins says. “I’m twice the musician Watkins wrote many of the songs on Sun now as I was then.” Midnight Sun when she was touring. She Former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul would often begin writing them and then Jones produced Watkins’ eponymous EP, after complete them when she returned home. he inquired about working with her. “When I would get home I would look at “He approached me about producing the them and be able to dig in a little deeper and record. I thought he was just being really nice ﬁnish them.” and complimenting me,” she says. For more information about the Vancouver “He was the perfect man to produce that record. My goal for that record was to ﬁnd my Folk Music Festival, including schedule and tickets, visit thefestival.bc.ca. To learn more personal musical home . . . and I didn’t want about Sara Watkins visit sarawatkins.com or to make any rash decision in terms of where I follow her on Twitter: @SaraWatkins. was going to go musically,” she adds.
Published on Aug 12, 2013