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Sue Crosby

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With a sound that incorporated the influences of pop, folk, rock, and jazz, Nickel Creek exploded the concept of what modern bluegrass could be, earning a huge crossover audience in the process. Featuring mandolinist Chris Thile, fiddler Sara Watkins, and her brother Sean on guitar (all three sang), the group started out in 1989, when the members were still children. They released their first album, Little Cowpoke, in 1993, followed by Here to There in '97. While these early indie recordings hewed to a more conventional neo-bluegrass template, and didn't earn much attention, things changed drastically on the next album. Nickel Creek signed to Sugar Hill Records and released their self-titled, Alison Krauss-produced album in 2000. Unveiling an appealing, genre-hopping approach, the record earned attention from both the pop and country camps, and eventually went Platinum, placing the band definitively on the mainstream map. The group's next album, 2002's This Side, underscored Nickel Creek's eclecticism even further, with a cover of indie rock heroes Pavement's "Spit on a Stranger" alongside a traditional tune and a batch of wide-ranging originals. With Krauss producing once again, it earned a No. 2...

With a sound that incorporated the influences of pop, folk, rock, and jazz, Nickel Creek exploded the concept of what modern bluegrass could be, earning a huge crossover audience in the process. Featuring mandolinist Chris Thile, fiddler Sara Watkins, and her brother Sean on guitar (all three sang), the group started out in 1989, when the members were still children. They released their first album, Little Cowpoke, in 1993, followed by Here to There in '97. While these early indie recordings hewed to a more conventional neo-bluegrass template, and didn't earn much attention, things changed drastically on the next album. Nickel Creek signed to Sugar Hill Records and released their self-titled, Alison Krauss-produced album in 2000. Unveiling an appealing, genre-hopping approach, the record earned attention from both the pop and country camps, and eventually went Platinum, placing the band definitively on the mainstream map. The group's next album, 2002's This Side, underscored Nickel Creek's eclecticism even further, with a cover of indie rock heroes Pavement's "Spit on a Stranger" alongside a traditional tune and a batch of wide-ranging originals. With Krauss producing once again, it earned a No. 2 spot on the country charts and hit the Top 20 in pop. The final album of the band's initial incarnation was 2005's Why Should the Fire Die. Nickel Creek disbanded in 2007, with Thile going off to start The Punch Brothers, Sara Watkins starting a solo career, and Sean continuing the one he'd already begun, as well as forming Fiction Family with Switchfoot singer Jon Foreman. In 2014, Nickel Creek reunited, releasing a new album, A Dotted Line, which went all the way to No. 7 on the pop charts. The group followed up with a tour, but the members all went back to their own projects afterwards.

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