I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there!
It's been seven years - almost - since the last Watkins Family Hour album. Kind of.
There was one two years ago, but it really just had Sara and Sean Watkins (brother and sister). The one seven years ago was culled from having other artists at their monthly live shows in Los Angeles - Fiona Apple, Benmont Tench, are amongst the rotating musicians who show up and perform with the brother an sister. None of additional those folks were on the 2020 release.
I suspect Covid.
But Vol II is out and includes the above four plus others - including Jackson Browne, Jon Brion and some others of whom I've never heard.
Even with the acclaimed guests, the show still belongs to Sean and Sara. Yes Browne sings on a cover of his own song, so that's not weird, right? He doesn't take lead. Apple does a good job on "(Remember Me) I'm the One Who Loves You". And there is a nice rendition of Zombie's song - with the triple or four-part harmony - "the Way I Feel Inside".
The musicianship is spot-on, but you kind of expect it to be. As this isn't a live recording at one of their shows, you don't quite the spontaneity of that kind of gathering, but they all do a great job of pulling it together.
I don't know if the Watkins siblings will join Chris Thiel for a new Nickel Creek disk or not anytime soon. I saw a Tweet months ago from Thiel talking about a songwriting week with the other two, so here's hoping.
While the Family Hour isn't true bluegrass, it hits the right amount of that to do it justice.