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Works Progress Administration

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Biography

Works Progress Administration, named after a Franklin Roosevelt program to put people to work during the Great Depression, is something of a sideman supergroup that developed out of the interactions of musicians at the Los Angeles club Largo. Its founding members were former Toad the Wet Sprocket singer/guitarist Glen Phillips, singer/guitarist Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek, and champion fiddle player Luke Bulla. They added pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz; Watkins' sister Sara Watkins, also of Nickel Creek; keyboard player Benmont Tench of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; and the rhythm section from Elvis Costello's backing band the Imposters, bassist Davey Faragher and drummer Pete Thomas. This septet then went into a recording studio and made an album, before having signed a record contract or even settled on a group name. Ultimately, the album was self-titled and issued by WPA Records/Umami Music when it appeared on September 15, 2009. (Bassist Sebastian Steinberg of Soul Coughing joined the band as a touring member when they hit the road to promote the album.) ~ William Ruhlmann