Like Alison Krauss? Then trust her taste! From the folkier, more mellow end of the bluegrass spectrum comes this debut album from a bother-sister pair and their friend and fellow musician Chris, produced and distributed by Krauss. Like Krauss, Nickel Creek's members are bluegrass prodigies, each a master of his/her own instrument or instruments (Bass, Fiddle, Mandolin, Banjo, Guitar) and each with both a strong sense of harmony and the clear sweet voice to carry out their strong musical ideas and ideals. As an added bonus, someone here has a sense of poetry -- the lyrics are catchy and poignant, perceptive and mature.
The result is a well-produced tour de force, rejuvenating bluegrass for a new generation without watering it down. The harmonies on this debut are tight, the melodies are light but complex. Where some bands of any genre are "best" with a certain type of song (sad or happy, ballad vs. playfulness), the strength rising from the stellar combination of skills in Nickel Creek results in an overall strong but also incredibly diverse CD: Fun subjects such as childhood songs are treated with appropriate bounciness and levity (The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night) while the oft-serious subjects, from young people dying at war (Hand Song) to solitude and lovers' death (The Lighthouse Song), are treated with a serious of craft and an appropriateness of lyric never nearing morbidity or moroseness.
No, it's not country. But it is sweet, fluid, well-crafted songsmithing and interpretations from a trio of young, energetic musicians not to be missed. Few if any low points, a stellar choice of songs and styles make for a CD you'll listen to all day long, in a variety of moods. Get two copies -- one for you and one for your best friend or lover -- they'll thank you for it!