Nickel Creek - This Side
This Side
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This Side is the Grammy-winning fourth album by the progressive bluegrass band Nickel Creek, released on Sugar Hill in the summer of 2002. It gained some notoriety in indie rock circles due to the group's recording of a Pavement song, Spit on a Stranger. Alison Krauss acted as a producer for the album.

Chart performance


Nickel Creek

*Chris Thile - Mandolin, Bouzouki, Guitar, Strings, Arranger, Vocals, Harmony Vocals

*Sara Watkins - Fiddle, Ukulele, Guitar, Strings, Arranger, Vocals, Harmony Vocals

*Sean Watkins - Guitar, Arranger, Vocals, Harmony Vocals

Other musicians

*Byron House - Upright bass

*Edgar Meyer - Upright bass

*Robert Trujillo - Upright bass on "Smoothie Song" video


*Producer: Alison Krauss

*Engineers: Gary Paczosa, Neal Cappellino, Jason Lehning, Tracy Martinson

*Assistant engineers: Eric Bickel, Rob Clark, Thomas Johnson

*Mixing: Gary Paczosa

*Surround mix: Gary Paczosa

*Mixing assistant: Eric Bickel

*Mastering: Don Cobb, Eric Conn, Robert Hadley, Doug Sax

*SACD mastering: Don Cobb, Eric Conn

*Editing: Tracy Martinson

*Production assistants: Jennie Billo, Tasha Thomas

*Art direction: Wendy Stamberger

*Design: Wendy Stamberger

*Photography: John Chiasson

*Illustrations: Terry Hoff

*Assistant: Eric Bickel


This text has been derived from This Side on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0

Artist/Band Information

Nickel Creek is an American acoustic music trio. Although the group's music has roots from bluegrass, the trio describe themselves as "progressive acoustic".May, Caryn. . The Source Weekly. July 14, 2006. Retrieved January 20, 2008. Nickel Creek consisted of three permanent members: Chris Thile (mandolin), Sara Watkins (fiddle) and her brother Sean Watkins (guitar). The trio have always recorded and toured with a bass player, but no bass player has ever been an official member of the band. Chris's father Scott Thile played bass with the group until 2000, followed by Byron House and Derek Jones. Mark Schatz has played bass regularly with the group since 2003.Nickel Creek. . Nickel Creek. June 8, 2002. Retrieved December 1, 2007. Band members characterize themselves as a band that "incorporates bluegrass into music".Cook, Dennis. . JamBase. Retrieved January 17, 2007. Nickel Creek has covered songs by Weezer, Radiohead, Pavement, Coldplay, Elliott Smith, Bob Dylan, The White Stripes, the Jackson Five, The Beatles, Beck, and Britney Spears.


Early days: 1989–1999

Nickel Creek's first performance was at That Pizza Place in Carlsbad, California in 1989 with Scott Thile, Chris's father, playing string bass.Quillien, Shay. . Oakland Tribune. April 27, 2007. Retrieved February 23, 2008.Rubin, Steven. . NC Times. December 14, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2008.Havighurst, Craig. . Acoustic Guitar. August 2000. Retrieved March 2, 2008. The two families - the Watkinses and the Thiles - met after Sean Watkins and Chris Thile had mandolin lessons with the same music instructor, John Moore. Sara Watkins studied with Moore's bandmate, Dennis Caplinger. At the start of Nickel Creek's history, Chris Thile played guitar and Sean Watkins played mandolin but later they decided to switch instruments. The oldest of the Watkins children, Sean was only twelve years old at the time. The band name comes from a song by Byron Berline, who was Sara Watkins' fiddle instructor.Seida, Linda. . JamBase. Retrieved December 27, 2007. Nickel Creek played many bluegrass festivals throughout the '90s, and the band members were home-schooled to accommodate their tour schedule. "The school wasn’t really cool with us missing the first two weeks of school and the last week of school," recalled Sara Watkins, "just because there were some really great festivals back East." Nickel Creek's first two albums were Little Cowpoke (1993) and Here to There (1997).

Nickel Creek: 2000–2001

Nickel Creek met Allison Krauss at one of their shows and later asked her through Barry Poss of Sugar Hill records, to produce their next album. "We were just thrilled. We really needed vocal help. We've never been that insecure about our instrumentals, but vocals were another thing. They were weak points for us but are getting stronger, thanks to the work Alison has done with us. Alison just brought so much to the production of the CD." . 1999. Retrieved on October 13, 2007 Nickel Creek's eponymous 2000 release on Sugar Hill is considered by many to be their first major release. It was certified gold in 2002 and later on certified platinum. Critics responded favorably.

Nickel Creek received two Grammy nominations: Best Bluegrass Album and Best Country Instrumental for "Ode to a Butterfly". The trio were also nominated at the CMA Awards for Best Vocal Group and the Horizon Award.Jeckell, Barry A. . Billboard. October 10, 2002. Retrieved February 3, 2008. Nickel Creek's video for "The Lighthouse's Tale" was nominated a CMT "Flameworthy Video Award" for Group/Duo Video of the Year.Jeckell, Barry A. . Billboard. May 14, 2002. Retrieved February 3, 2008. In addition to the Grammy nominations, they were named one of the "Five Music Innovators of the Millennium" by TIME Magazine in May 2000.

To promote the album, Nickel Creek toured as a headlining and opening act in 2000 and 2001. The band opened eleven shows for Lyle Lovett in the summer of 2000, and played Austin City Limits in January 2001 with Dolly Parton. One month later Parton invited Nickel Creek to perform as her backup band at the 2001 Grammy Awards. The trio also had a spring tour with former Toad the Wet Sprocket lead singer Glen Phillips in a collaboration dubbed Mutual Admiration Society. A self-titled album was set to be released, but this was delayed until 2004. Nickel Creek also opened for Vince Gill and Amy Grant in the winter.Martens, Todd. . Billboard. September 21, 2001. Retrieved February 3, 2008.Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins. . Nickel Creek. August 17, 2000. Retrieved December 1, 2007. Shortly after Nickel Creek started touring, Scott Thile decided to leave the band due to spend more time with his family. Thile was replaced for a short time by bassist Byron House. In March 2001 a new bassist, Derek Jones, joined the touring band.Sara Watkins. . Nickel Creek. August 17, 2000. Retrieved December 1, 2007.

This Side: 2002–2004

NickelCreek.jpgthumbright250pxSara Watkins, Mark Schatz, and Chris Thile touring in 2003 after the release of This Side.

In 2002 the band released their fourth album, This Side, produced by Alison Krauss. It was a departure from their previous releases which were purely bluegrass. Although the core influence of bluegrass remained, other genres such as indie rock and folk rock were present in their music included cover songs by Spit on a Stranger by Pavement, and Should've Known Better by Carrie Newcomer. When discussing the album in an interview from Barnes & Noble, Chris Thile described it:

As with Nickel Creek, critics responded positively to This Side. Charles Spano of Allmusic said that "Thile and the Watkins siblings' originals, like the sleepy, subtle "Speak" and the darker "Beauty and the Mess," easily outdo the likes of folk-rockers Dave Matthews and Hootie & the Blowfish, while forging a new style to rejuvenate a genre that has always been a bit of a dark horse."Charles Spano. . Allmusic. Retrieved November 11, 2007.

This Side entered the Billboard 200 at #18 on the chart, and at #2 on the magazine's Top Country Albums chart.Martens, Todd/Ellis, Michael. . Billboard. August 22, 2002. Retrieved February 3, 2008. The album was certified gold the following year of its release by the RIAA.. CMT. September 11, 2003. Retrieved February 19, 2008. The success of This Side earned the group several awards, including a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. The band was featured in Rolling Stone's "Best Of 2002" edition after the release of This Side.

During the 2002 and 2003 This Side tour, Nickel Creek performed mainly as a headlining act, but also opened five shows for John Mayer in November 2002 in Upstate New York and New England,Jeckell, Barry A. . Billboard. October 25, 2002. Retrieved February 3, 2008. and toured with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings earlier in the year.Sara Watkins. . Nickel Creek. November 19, 2002. Retrieved December 1, 2007. In 2003, Nickel Creek appeared on the Béla Fleck and the Flecktones album Little Worlds.Jeckell, Barry A. . Billboard. June 12, 2003. Retrieved February 3, 2008.

Why Should the Fire Die?: 2005

Three years following the release of This Side, Nickel Creek released their fifth album, Why Should the Fire Die?. This demonstrated more rock and pop influences, just as with This Side. Chris Thile discussed the band's genre and style in a 2005 interview from Jambase: "We actually feel like more than a bluegrass band that stretched out. We are a band that incorporates bluegrass into our music. There's been a problem in perception. 'Bluegrass band leaves the fold' (uses a news announcer voice). No, no, no, no, no. Actually, it's a band that incorporates a little bluegrass into whatever the hell kind of music they play." Sean Watkins also said:

Why Should the Fire Die? debuted and peaked at #17 on the Billboard 200 and topped the Billboard bluegrass chart.

In the summer of 2006 Nickel Creek appeared at numerous music festivals, including Bonnaroo,. CMT. February 1, 2006. Retrieved February 3, 2008. High Sierra Music Festival, Austin City Limits, . Billboard. May 18, 2006. Retrieved February 3, 2008. SXSW,Cohen, Johnathan. . Billboard. December 15, 2005. Retrieved February 3, 2008. LollapaloozaJeckell, Barry A. . Billboard. March 16, 2006. Retrieved February 3, 2008. and Star Fest.Jeckell, Barry A. . Billboard. May 17, 2006. Retrieved February 3, 2008.

Farewell (For Now): 2006–2007

In late summer 2006, via Billboard and their official website, Nickel Creek announced that at the end of the year they would no longer be recording as a group and their tour, scheduled through 2007, would be their last for an indefinite period of time. According to Thile, "It's always been so natural, but lately it hasn't been quite as natural and we're running the risk of actually having to break up. We would rather leave it for a while, while it's still intact and healthy."Hasty, Katie. . Billboard. August 28, 2006. Retrieved February 19, 2008.

Sean Watkins stated that all three members were ready to expand their musical horizons by experiencing real life again: "When you're on the road all the time and meet all these people who love your music, you can't always relate to them because stuff never happens to you. We're supposed to be writing songs that relate to other people... I need to be out there and having a different life than that. I am ready to write about real things again."

NickelCreekCoachella.jpgthumbright250pxSara Watkins and Chris Thile on the Farewell (For Now) Tour in April 2007.

In November 2006 Sugar Hill released Reasons Why: The Very Best, a compilation of selected studio tracks from Nickel Creek's three latest albums, as well as two previously unreleased tracks and all of the music videos from the trio's singles.

Also that year, Nickel Creek planned the Farewell (For Now) Tour. It was originally intended to be called the Victory Lap Tour, but the band's managers thought that would make them sound "presumptuous and boastful".Argyrakis, Andy. LiveWire. August 8, 2007. Retrieved February 18, 2008. The seven-month Farewell (For Now) Tour started in April 2007 and ended in November. In a statement at the start of the tour, Nickel Creek said that they "wanted to do this in a positive way and take that last lap before our break. We want to see our fans one more time and play with the musicians that have inspired us over the years.". CMT. Retrieved February 19, 2008. The tour featured numerous guest appearances by Glen Phillips,Jackson, Cory. Marshall Parthenon. Retrieved March 1, 2008.Dickens, Tad. . The Roanoke Times. November 2, 2007. Retrieved March 2, 2008. Jon Brion,MacDonald, Patrick. . The Seattle Times. May 11, 2007. Retrieved March 2, 2008. Fiona Apple,Hasty, Kate. . Billboard. May 18, 2007.Madison, Tjames. . LiveDaily. May 17, 2007. Retrieved March 2, 2008.Madison, Tjames. . Brooklyn Vegan. May 17, 2007. Retrieved March 2, 2008. Bruce Molsky, . Compass Records. October 18, 2007. Retrieved February 3, 2008. Bela Fleck, Tom BrosseauKilgore, Kym. . LiveDaily. October 4, 2007. Retrieved March 2, 2008. and Tift Merritt, among others.

Nickel Creek planned to record a live DVD at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in November 2007 with special guests over the course of two nights.John. . The Bluegrass Blog. November 7, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2007. However, that month it was announced instead that the "plans for the video shoot have been scrapped". The performances still took place, and were the last before the group's hiatus.Dollar, Steve. The New York Sun. February 19, 2008. Retrieved February 23, 2008.

Looking back on the Nickel Creek experience, which spanned eighteen years, Sara Watkins said, "A lot of the other stuff will be special in the way that anything is special when you realize that it’s not going to be around forever...Nothing is going to be Nickel Creek except Nickel Creek. I’m not looking for anything to top this. It can’t be duplicated in my life.". Go to Reno Tahoe. April 2007. Retrieved February 19, 2008.

Awards and nominations


*2000: IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year

*2001: IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year

*2003: Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album (This Side)

*2006: CMT Top 10 Country Compilations of 2006 (Reasons Why: The Very Best). CMT. December 22, 2006. Retrieved February 19, 2008.


*2001: Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album (Nickel Creek)

*2001: Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance ("Ode to a Butterfly")

*2001: CMA Award for Best Vocal Group

*2001: CMA Horizon Award

*2005: Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album (Why Should the Fire Die?)

*2005: Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance ("Scotch & Chocolate")



*1993: Little Cowpoke

*1997: Here to There

*2000: Nickel Creek

*2002: This Side

*2005: Why Should the Fire Die?


*2006: Reasons Why: The Very Best


*2001: "When You Come Back Down"

*2001: "The Lighthouse's Tale"

*2002: "Reasons Why"

*2003: "This Side"

*2003: "Speak"

*2003: "Smoothie Song"

*2005: "When In Rome"


This text has been derived from Nickel Creek on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0

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