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A Dotted Line

4.6 out of 5 stars 168 customer reviews

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A Dotted Line
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Audio CD, April 1, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

The Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum selling trio Nickel Creek Chris Thile (mandolin/vocals), Sara Watkins (fiddle/vocals), and Sean Watkins (guitar/vocals) officially reunites for the first time since its 2007 self-described "indefinite hiatus" with the album A Dotted Line, followed by a tour of the US in support of the Eric Valentine-produced album, which includes the 2014 Telluride Bluegrass and Newport Folk Festivals.

As Nickel Creek's 25th anniversary approached, the band members decided they ought to mark it in some way, so they got together to write music in Chris Thile's apartment last year. They ended up with six new co-written songs, which they eventually took to a Los Angeles studio, along with one tune by Thile, one by Sean Watkins, and two covers: Sam Phillips' "Where Is Love Now" and Mother Mother's "Hayloft. " There they worked with Valentine (Queens of the Stone Age, Smash Mouth), who had produced Nickel Creek's previous album, Why Should the Fire Die?.

"We were excited every day to be there," Sara Watkins says. "Having grown up singing together, there is something natural about our voices and it's really fun to harmonize. Our voices have come to match each other's really well. Sean and I are siblings, and Chris is about as close to a sibling as you could get. " Sean Watkins continues: "It feels more natural and easy than it ever did, by far. Getting to spend time alone with our own musical personalities has helped us mature. "

"There's a joyful aspect to Nickel Creek no matter what we're doing. Things just steer themselves into that sort of place, " concurs Thile. "We will go poke around in the dark corners but always with a heavy dose of optimism. "
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Digital Booklet: A Dotted Line
Digital Booklet: A Dotted Line
Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 1, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B00IMUXK2K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,005 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The long awaited reunion of Bluegrass super-group Nickel Creek has finally arrived and it does not disappoint. I have managed to listen through the album a second time in the space of an hour and I can say with some confidence that I will be listening to this another week before I fully absorb its different sounds. As welcome as it is to have Chris, Sean, and Sara together again, "A Dotted Line" is a charming piece of music in its own right. It's hard not to come away smiling after the first listen.

Of course hard-core fans will hardly need to be sold, but more casual Nickel Creek listeners might be curious what to expect after a seven-year Hiatus. In a word, the album is like a sampler of the different styles that Nickel Creek (and its constituent members) have explored over their careers thus far. The genre changes radically from song to song just as do the emotions; one moment whimsical, one moment heart-felt, one moment haunting.

But while the album is stylistically scattered, the band members are in total lockstep complementing each other on every track. In fact, the confident skills of each of the musicians involved was the one constant in an album that kept me guessing from start to finish. I hesitate to say I detected an over-arching theme (like that in "Why Should the Fire Die") but this album is deeper than one might initially expect. It deserves many-a-pleasant repeat listen.
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Format: Audio CD
So wonderful to have one of the most extraordinary progressive acoustic musicians together again.
Chris continues to be the lead man, doing the majority of the lead vocals, and producing shimmering mandolin work. He just has "IT," that rock star swagger, while backing it up w the chops to play w the likes of Yo Yo Ma, and pretty much anyone, in any genre.
Sarah's vocals have matured. Even Sean sounds confident singing 21st of May.
Hayloft is a bit of an odd choice. I am not sure if it was done tongue in cheek, like when they used to do Brittany Spears' Toxic live. It is curious, but kind of fun, & funny.
The last 3 songs are the best, by far. Elephant is an instrumental tour de force. You Don't Know is a fun piece, in the spirit of Spit on a Stranger. Where is Love Now is a wonderful concluding note.
The one obvious gripe is the length of the disk. Clocking in at less than 38 minutes is really kind of chintzy. It has been, what, 7-8 years. Can't we have come up with just a few additional songs to round it out to at least 60, or even 50, minutes?
Perhaps its the "leave them wanting more" thing. I certainly want more. Please, don't let it be another 7-8 years.
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This has to be one of the best all around bands that I have run across in a long time. The depth of the music and sound will blow your mind. I can't believe that this band is not a common household name. This album lives up to the album "This Side" which I am more familiar with. Songs like "21st of May" and "Destination" just continue the legacy of great music that the have made in the past and will not disappoint. I agree that the album is like a sampler of the different styles that Nickel Creek has had through the years and will not disappoint if you like any of the other albums and style of their music (Especially "This Side") . Buy it now and enjoy it!

To the band, a Great job on this album and THANKYOU for make such beautiful music together.
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Nickel Creek's "indefinite" hiatus was crushing news to me when I first heard it, and I couldn't be happier with their return. Their first album enthralled me with its ephemeral, youthful sound, and their second jarred me awake with the up-beat sound of a growing career. Their third album, "Why Should the Fire Die?" was a climactic crash of creative voice and experimentation, and the tragic harbinger of their "indefinite" hiatus. The news that the band was breaking up hit me hard and depressed me for weeks, but I couldn't be happier with their return. Nickel Creek has matured magnificently.

"A Dotted Line" synergizes the country tone of their second album with all of the most successful experiments from their third, resulting in a very controlled but dynamically unique voice that bears the echoes of their first albums unmitigated artistry. The soul of the musicians is on display, just as it always is. The album is a portrait of the artists as fully grown adults, still full of wonder and new surprises, but with all the control that comes with mature, experience, and mastery. Anyone whose ever loved any Nickel Creek song will hear what they loved on this album, refined and made new, alongside everything else that makes the group what it is.
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My only complaint is that the album isn't long enough. I was really hoping they would provide more content. The 10 songs they did include, however, are all expertly and wonderfully performed. Beautiful work, here's to another 100 albums.
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I was a big Nickel Creek fan the first time around and so I was completely ecstatic to hear they were getting back together and making a new album. I probably would have still bought this CD if it was terrible, but thankfully it's amazing! I listen to it all the time and can't get enough. I love every single song on this album... there isn't even one that I skip over. It has a very similar feel to their older albums. Some of the songs are slower and beautiful (Love of Mine, Rest of my Life, Where is Love Now), others are fast and fun to sing along with (Destination, You Don't Know What's Going On)... others are just weird but I love them anyway (Hayloft).

Overall, highly recommend this album!
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