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Why Should the Fire Die?

1 rating: -1.0
An album by Nickel Creek

Nickel Creek: Chris Thile (guitar); Sean Watkins (background vocals); Sara Watkins . Personnel: Chris Thile (vocals, tenor guitar, banjo, bouzouki, mandola, mandolin); Sara Watkins (vocals, fiddle); Sean Watkins (guitar, 12-string guitar, baritone guitar, … see full wiki

Tags: Music, Country
1 review about Why Should the Fire Die?

What Happened, No Really, What Happened?

  • Jul 17, 2010
Pros: Harmonizing voices; outstanding instrumentation.

Cons: Weak unintelligible vocals; dark, dark disjointed music

The Bottom Line:

In the final analysis there is very little to like about Nickel Creek’s Why Should The Fire Die.

Release Date: (August 9, 2005)
Label: Sugarhill
Number of Discs: (1)

What happened!?  What happened to Nickel Creek, that young talented trio of Bluegrass musicians that showed so much promise in 2000? 

While I may not remember where I first heard the harmonious styling of Alison Krauss and Union Station, I do remember where and when I became aware of the trio that is Nickel Creek.  It was on a segment of National Public Radio’ All Thing Considered.  The San Diego based band had stopped by the studio’s of NPR West to promote their first self-titled album Nickel Creek (2000). While in the studio the band was asked to play and the music was pure heaven, especially since I was driving home through rush hour traffic.  That evening I ordered their CD.        

While always considered a bluegrass band in order to place it properly on the music charts, Nickel Creek is certainly different from the traditional bluegrass one might be used to hearing and that was one of their selling points.  But on Why Should The Fire Die (2005) the group goes completely off the Bluegrass rails, and music that was once, fun, energetic, sharp, and emotive, is now dark, soulless, and dare I say, irritating.

Alison Krauss is out as producer and perhaps that is the problem.  Without Ms. Krauss the group has largely drifted off the Bluegrass playing field and into heretofore unexplored territory that musically did not work for me.  To be sure the sharp instrumentation is there, as are the occasional harmonies that so marked the group’s earlier works, but the once smart and uplifting storytelling has grown gloomy and depressive as lead singer Sean Watkins takes us down one melancholy path after another.  The lyrics are often cutting, adolescent, and vindictive and far from uplifting; Track No. 2 Somebody More Like You, track No. 5 Can’t Complain, track No. 9 Anthony (with Sara Watkins on lead vocals) are a few examples.  

The only bright spots on the CD are the instrumentals track No. 4 Scotch & Chocolate, track No. 8 Stumptown, and track No. 12 First and Last Waltz.  To be sure they are short tracks but sans lyrics they work. 

In the final analysis there is very little to like about Nickel Creek’s Why Should The Fire Die. While I have to admit that the group’s new direction is bold, daring, and even hip, it is not a musical road I want to traverse with them.   While the album does showcase the trio’s sublime and wonderful instrumental talents, lyrically it left a lot to be desired and it is hard from me to recommend it.  And while not a complete break from their Bluegrass birthing Why Should The Fire Die surely takes Nickel Creek far enough away from the womb as to be unrecognizable to those fans that have been there from the beginning.           

The three principals of Nickel Creek are: Sara Watkins on fiddle and vocals; her brother Sean Watkins on guitar, mandolin, and vocals; and Chris Thile on mandolin, banjo, bouzouki, and vocals.   

Track Listing

1. When in Rome, 2. Somebody More Like Me, 3. Jealous of the Moon, 4. Scotch & Chocolate, 5. Can’t Complain, 6. Tomorrow Is a Long Time, 7. Eveline, 8. Stumtown, 9. Anthony, 10. Best of Luck, 11. Doubting Thomas, 12. First & Last Waltz, 13. Helena, 14. Why Should The Fist Die?


Great Music to Play While: Getting ready to go out

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1 rating: -1.0
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Why Should the Fire Die?
Label: Sugar Hill Records
Artist: Nickel Creek
Release Date: August 09, 2005

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