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A Dotted Line

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iTunes Review

A Dotted Line ends a nine-year recording hiatus for the band that brought bluegrass influences into the mainstream in the '00s. The members of Nickel Creek were in their twenties when this album's predecessor, Why Should the Fire Die, was released; since then, they've ventured into solo projects and new groups (Punch Brothers, Works Progress Administration). But after all that individual evolution, they've reconvened for a record that pretty much picks up where the trio left off. The cool, classy blend of folk, pop, bluegrass, and rock that made Nickel Creek famous is still the focus here, full of rich vocal harmonies and subtly surprising melodic turns. Within that paradigm, the group retain the eclecticism of old on everything from the hushed ballad "Christmas Eve" to the urgent, rock-inflected "You Don't Know What's Going On." Despite the band's considerable chops, the instrumentals ("Elsie," "Elephant in the Corn") contain nary an unnecessary note, and covers of tunes by art-pop siren Sam Phillips and Canadian indie rockers Mother Mother show the band's still got big ears.

Customer Reviews

An explosion of unexpected sound at every turn

You owe it to yourself to take the time and listen to this truly superb album. F'real.

Sigh of relief

I think we are collectively breathing a sigh of relief to have these guys back.

Best Album This Decade

Friends, let me tell you something: this is the greatest album I have heard in a very long time. I love music very much, and I don't throw that statement around like most people would. Every song on this record is so good, that I have listened to the entire album through and through easily over ten times since its release this past Tuesday. Yeah, only four days, and I have every single tune stuck in my head. These guys truly know music, and trust me, it shows! Chris Thile, Sean and Sara Watkins changed bluegrass music when they first got together, and man oh man, am I thankful for it! I know Nickel Creek won't stay together after their tour, but man, I will pray every day that they will come back together for a thirty year anniversary! Nickel Creek, thank you for your music and talents, and I will forever be a fan of your awesomeness.


Formed: 1989 in San Diego, CA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Distinguished by their youth and eclectic taste, Nickel Creek became a word-of-mouth sensation on the progressive bluegrass scene and soon found their appeal spreading beyond the genre's core audience. Guitarist Sean Watkins, fiddler Sara Watkins (his younger sister), and mandolin/banjo/bouzouki player Chris Thile first started performing together in 1989, when all three were preteens and taking music lessons in their native San Diego. They met while watching the local band Bluegrass Etc., which...
Full Bio