Sean Watkins is one third of the young Grammy-nominated supergroup Nickel Creek. Along with his sister Sara and mando phenom Chris Thile, they’ve lit up the festival circuit with fresh musical energy. Let it Fall is Sean’s first solo album, and it showcases his superb chops and mature musical sensibilities.
All but one of the selections here are instrumentals, the exception being the title cut, which features Glen Phillips on lead vocals, backed by Sean and Sara. It may even get some airplay on AAA/Americana radio stations because it is so moving and melodic. On the rest of the album, Watkins’ musical styles span from moody acoustic folk, to celtic, bluegrass, and jazz-inflected “newgrass.” At the end of the disc, if you’re very patient, you’ll discover a bonus track of Django-like jazz.
Other musicians include Jerry Douglas on dobro, Stuart Duncan and Luke Bulla on fiddle, Dennis Caplinger on banjo, Todd Phillips, Kevin Hennessy, and Bob Magnuson on bass, and Duncan Moore on drums. Watkins produced the CD, which was recorded at four different studios. David Glasser, Airshow Mastering, roped the disc together and gave it a spacious and natural soundstage. This fine CD shows that musical sophistication is certainly not a function of chronological age.
This review originally appeared in VG‘s June ’01 issue.