After two formative years on the road fronting her own band - making stops at such events as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, and Glasgow’s Celtic Connection along the way-Watkins returned to Los Angeles to record her second Nonesuch disc. Produced by guitarist, songwriter, and Simon Dawes co-founder Blake Mills,Sun Midnight Sun offers both sweetness and a certain swagger; it has an appealingly rough-hewn quality. The album title suggests the daily passage of time or, perhaps more to the point, the transition from light to dark and back again, much like the moods of the disc itself.
Though Sun Midnight Sun sounds more off the cuff in execution than Watkins’ debut, the production is actually a more traditionally multi-layered effort. On Sara Watkins, producer John Paul Jones, the former Led Zepplin bassist and formidable song arranger, led Watkins and a stellar group of L.A. backing musicians in extensive rehearsals before capturing live-in-the-studio takes of all the material, with very little overdubbing or edits. This time, Watkins built the tracks around a core trio consisting of herself, multi-instrumentalist Mills, and her brother Sean, with whom she has been co-hosting the Watkins Family Hour for the last nine years at L.A.’s eclectic club Largo whenever the pair is in town. It was at Largo, in fact, that keyboardist and frequent Family Hour guest Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers introduced Watkins to Mills, who had previously worked as sideman/muse to such artists as Jenny Lewis, Julian Casablancas, Jeff Bridges, Delta Spirit, and Nora Jones.
Sat, Mar 9 | 7:00 PM
The Franklin Theatre
$20.00 - $36.00