Why Should The Fire Die? is the third major album release and fifth album overall by progressive acoustic trio Nickel Creek. The album was released on Sugar Hill on August 9, 2005 in the United States, and on August 8 in the United Kingdom.Layman, Will. . PopMatters. Retrieved January 12, 2008. Why Should the Fire Die? is the first Nickel Creek album to feature string bassist Mark Schatz,Monger, James Christopher. . Allmusic. Retrieved January 17, 2008. and is also their first album to include percussion instruments of any kind.Rubin, Stephen. . NC Times. December 14, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2008.
The album peaked at #17 on the Billboard 200,. Allmusic. Retrieved January 29, 2008. making it the highest charting Nickel Creek album on the chart to date.Martens, Todd/Ellis, Michael. . Billboard. August 22, 2002. Retrieved February 3, 2008. Why Should the Fire Die? also topped both the magazine's Top Internet Albums and Top Bluegrass Albums charts. By November 2006, the album had sold 258,784 copies.. IndieHQ. November 20, 2006. Retrieved March 25, 2008. The album earned Nickel Creek two Grammy Award nominations: the award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, an award which they previously won for This Side, and the award for Best Country Instrumental Performance ("Scotch & Chocolate").
Why Should the Fire Die? was praised by contemporary music critics primarily for its creativity,Dansby, Andrew. . Houston Chronicle. August 26, 2005. Retrieved January 12, 2008.Wood, Mikael. . Village Voice. August 26, 2005. Retrieved January 12, 2008. and for its instrumental quality,Miller, Adam D. . Being There. Retrieved January 12, 2008. with one critic complimenting the album's "sheer musical brilliance".Keogh, Sue. . BBC. Retrieved January 12, 2008.
Conception and production
In the time that Nickel Creek spent writing songs for Why Should the Fire Die?, numerous songs did not make the cut, and only fourteen were used in the final draft of the album. When discussing the album, Sean Watkins said that the band "did so much co-writing together and filtering. I mean there’s like 30 songs that didn’t get used."Morrell, Alex. . The Daily Cardinal. Retrieved February 7, 2008. After writing the songs, Sara Watkins said in her online journal that the trio spent five days "going over the details of the arrangements on each of the seventeen songs we're seriously considering for the record and making good demos of each of them".Sara Watkins. . Nickel Creek. November 15, 2004. Retrieved February 7, 2008. The band started recording the album in November 2004, and the album was "completed, mixed, and mastered" by April 2005.Sara Watkins. . Nickel Creek. April 23, 2005. Retrieved February 7, 2008.
The recording for Why Should the Fire Die? took place at Barefoot Recording in Los Angeles, California.Robertson, Jessica. . Rolling Stone. August 4, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2008. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Thile said: "The studio needs to be dark. I don't want to be reminded by my surroundings that what I'm singing about isn't happening right then. I like to really dissolve into the story. But the Jamesons I use more for keeping my vocal cords relaxed and clear."
The release of Why Should the Fire Die? marked the first major Nickel Creek release with Alison Krauss absent as a producer. The album's producing duties were carried out by Tony Berg and former Smash Mouth producer Eric Valentine.Quillien, Shay. . Oakland Tribune. April 27, 2007. Retrieved February 23, 2008. Sara Watkins stated in an interview with Paste Magazine that the producer change made for a "more congruent project overall".Killingsworth, Jason. . Paste Magazine. August 1, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2008. The band attributed much of the credit for their morphing sound to both their new producers and Krauss. The album was not recorded digitally, but in a more old-fashioned way using Telefunken microphones, and the special effects in the fiddle on the track "First and Last Waltz" was reel tape delay.Cook, Dennis. . JamBase. Retrieved January 17, 2007.
"When in Rome", the opening track on Why Should the Fire Die?, was chosen as the lead, and only single. The song's title alludes to the American proverb "When in Rome, do as the Romans do", and Chris Thile, the song's author, said "The idea behind the song – and I do love it! - is if there is something better, it's worth leaning towards just a little bit because you'll have a great time here regardless." Critics commented on the song favorably, with George Graham saying that "When in Rome" has "rock energy level and some sonic manipulation, with hints of old-time Appalachian music in the fiddle, while the lyrics are definitely in the rock mode."Graham, George. . GeorgeGraham.com. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
The second track, "Somebody More Like You" was written by guitarist Sean Watkins. The break-up song, written from Watkins' perspective, was described as "scathing", and like "Aimee Mann-style modern pop", with lyrics like "I hope you meet someone your height so you can see eye to eye/With someone as small as you". Watkins said the song wasn't written for anyone in particular, but said "I had this clever line and decided to build a song around it." "Jealous of the Moon", the third track, was co-written by Chris Thile and Gary Louris of Jayhawks fame. This song was released as a promotional single in the United States. The fourth track and first instrumental on Why Should the Fire Die?, "Scotch & Chocolate", earned Nickel Creek a Grammy Award nomination for Best Country Instrumental. However, the song lost to the trio's former record producer Alison Krauss with her band Union Station for "Unionhouse Branch", from the band's twelfth album, Lonely Runs Both Ways. As with the first three songs on the album, critics responded favorably to "Scotch & Chocolate". Rolling Stone considered the song to be "Celtic-infused", Slant Magazine named it the best song on the album,Keefe, Johnathan. . Slant Magazine. 2005. Retrieved January 18, 2008. and Stylus Magazine called it a "brisk, lively instrumental". The latter also said the song was "every bit as physically exciting as Shooter Jennings or Big and Rich."Love, Josh. . Stylus Magazine. August 24, 2005. Retrieved January 18, 2008.
"Can't Complain", a Chris Thile-composed piece, was the fifth track on Why Should the Fire Die?. According to Sean Watkins, the song was written by Thile "from the point of view of a friend". Unlike the first four songs on the album, the song received mixed reviews. Being There called it "nothing more than a generic ballad with little merit", and PopMatters said that it was a "one-too-many Thile tune about screwed-up relationships". However, some critics found it amazing; Village Voice called the song a "lushly arpeggiated ballad". The sixth track, a Bob Dylan cover, "Tomorrow is a Long Time", was the only track on the album not composed at least partially by one of the members of Nickel Creek. The track had previously been covered by "Watkins Family Hour", a duo that consists of Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins, at their home base of Largo in Los Angeles. Both the album version and the live Watkins Family Hour version feature Sara Watkins as the lead vocalist.Lester, Jeff. . Internet Archive. November 18, 2004. Retrieved January 20, 2008. Watkins was heavily praised for her "graceful"Mansfield, Brian. . JamBase. August 8, 2005. Retrieved January 19, 2007. and "beautifully" sung rendition of the song. "Eveline", a tribute to the James Joyce short story of the same name, was the seventh track on the album. A Thile-Sean Watkins composed piece, "Eveline" has been said to feature "irregular tunings",May, Caryn. . The Source Weekly. July 14, 2006. Retrieved January 20, 2008. and vocal harmonization that is similar to that on Radiohead's OK Computer. Allmusic cited this track as the "brooding centerpiece" of the album.
The eighth song and second instrumental on Why Should the Fire Die?, "Stumptown", was written by Chris Thile. The song was written as a tribute to Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Chris Thile's favorite coffee house in the world.Silkaitis, Katherine. . Harp Magazine. July 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2008. "Stumptown" is also the album's shortest song, at one minute and forty three seconds. "Anthony", the ninth track, is the only song recorded by Nickel Creek that was written solely by Sara Watkins. "Anthony", which features a ukulele melody,Smith, Brian A. . The Phantom Tollbooth. August 1, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2008. was described by several critics to be "old-timey". One of three Thile-Watkins-Watkins composed pieces on the album, "Best Of Luck" was the tenth track on Why Should the Fire Die?. Sara Watkins had the lead vocal for "Best Of Luck", and was complimented by critics for her "snippy" and "assertive" vocal. prefix Magazine pegged the song to be the formula that makes "this album, and trio, unstoppable".Liebowitz, Matt. . prefix Magazine. November 7, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2008. The eleventh track, "Doubting Thomas", was written by Chris Thile and is named after Doubting Thomas, a biblical term. All the members of Nickel Creek came from devout Christian families, and the song is about questioning faith. The third and final instrumental, "First and Last Waltz", is Why Should the Fire Die?s twelfth track. One of the three songs written by all of Nickel Creek's members, it comes before the penultimate track, "Helena". At Nickel Creek's concerts, the song was played as a segue into "Helena". The album recording of "First And Last Waltz" has been called a "chilly effects-draped recital piece", due to its use of sound effects. "Helena", the penultimate track, was written by Chris Thile. Producer Eric Valentine provided drumming duties for this song. Thile described the track to be what he considered "the ultimate climax" of Why Should the Fire Die?, and some contemporary critics found the song to be the highlight of the album.Kot, Greg. . Entertainment Weekly. August 12, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2008. The final song on Why Should the Fire Die?, the title track, is a slow waltz. PopMatters described the song as being "gorgeously sung", but "an odd choice to conclude a record that is so often bidding for the true fun of pop music".
For the majority, Why Should the Fire Die? received positive reviews from United States contemporary music critics. PopMatters said that the album was "hardly the stuff of mountain music", and Village Voice described it to be "much sleeker, sexier, and more carefully assembled than work by the competition." A review from the Houston Chronicle also stated that Why Should the Fire Die? is "like Wilco with country rock and Radiohead with guitar riff rock," and that "the trio has successfully proved the vitality of creative Darwinism." Some critics even went as far as to call the album's musical genre "emo-grass".
The album also received much critical praise for its instrumental strength, with BBC stating that "what shines through immediately is the sheer musical brilliance." The magazine Being There said that "like any good bluegrass band, Nickel Creek proves capable of playing rousing instrumentals." BBC also discussed the difference between the three instrumentals featured on the album, stating ""First And Last Waltz" is smooth and dreamy, "Stumptown" is a merry little jig, and "Scotch And Chocolate" is just reel-y (sic) good."
Reviews for Why Should the Fire Die? also included praise of the album's vocals, particularly Sara Watkins' "snippy", "beautifully sung" and "assertive" vocals on various tracks, and the trio's vocal harmonization was also complimented.
*Chris Thile – mandolin, vocals, mandola, bouzouki, banjo, tenor guitar, stomping
*Sara Watkins – fiddle, vocals, ukulele, stomping
*Sean Watkins – guitars, vocals, piano, bouzouki, stomping
*Mark Schatz – bass, stomping
*Eric Valentine – drums
*Producers: Tony Berg, Eric Valentine
*Engineer: Eric Valentine
*Assistant engineer: Chris Roach
*Mixing: Eric Valentine
*Mastering: Eric Valentine
*Creative director: Wendy Stamberger
*Photography: Danny Clinch
*Stylist: Marjan Malakpour
*Assistants: Gary Ashley, Brett Williams
ReferencesThis text has been derived from Why Should the Fire Die? on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0
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." . iBluegrass.com. 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: "Smoothie Song"
*2005: "When In Rome"
ReferencesThis text has been derived from Nickel Creek on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0