Sean Watkins, a member of the progressive bluegrass band Nickel Creek, released his debut album in 1991. Sean and his sister Sara, along with father and son duo Scott Thile and Chris Thile, formed Nickel Creek in San Diego in 1990. The four met at a weekly pizza parlor show by the southern California group Bluegrass Etc. Sean showed virtuosic talent early on, reaching the finals in both mandolin and guitar at the National Flatpicking Championship at the age of 16. In 1994, Nickel Creek reached the regional division of the Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Band Championship. The band released its self-titled debut on Sugar Hill Records in May 2000. The single “Reasons Why” hit number one on the Americana charts. While Nickel Creek’s roots lie in modern folk and bluegrass, they are also influenced by everything from alt-pop to Ella Fitzgerald to Beethoven.
The group was nominated for two Grammys in 2001. That same year, Watkins released his first solo effort, Let It Fall, a collection of original instrumentals. He showed signs of Nickel Creek’s new pop direction on 2003’s genre-bending 26 Miles, a hobby he would turn into a habit on 2006’s electrifying Blinders On. In 2009, Watkins and Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman released an eponymous album under the moniker Fiction Family. Their collaboration yielded a sophomore outing in 2013 with Fiction Family Reunion. 2014 proved a busy year for Watkins with the release of A Dotted Line, the first collection of new music from Nickel Creek since 2005, and a new solo album, All I Do Is Lie. ~ Erik Hage, Rovi
With Anthony D’Amato