It's a difficult task to title a 14 track record The Very
Best and narrow down the choices when a band is as incredibly
talented as Nickel Creek. No matter how good a job the
picker does, there will be tracks that some folks feel are missing
and others that are included that some folks feel should not be.
This is most certainly the case with Reasons Why - but
the only real reason is the excellence of almost the entire Nickel
Creek library of songs. But for those that may not know much about
Nickel Creek already, Reasons Why is a great cross-section
of their career thus far, making it a good launching point for
new fans or those that want to give someone a gift of great music.
I can think of no greater track than "The Lighthouse's Tale"
to start off a compilation of Nickel Creek songs. This track continues
to be one of the finest newgrass tracks ever recorded, with its
tender vocals and brilliant instrumentation that so ably presses
the dynamic changes in the track. The band's cover of Sinead
Lohan's "Out Of The Woods" is a welcome addition
and shows a young band stretching their wings a bit. The jump
to the rocking "When In Rome" seems a bit sudden, and
from track three on, the album skips backwards and forwards in
time, creating a bit of a schizophrenic feeling. I tend to like
compilations better when organized chronologically, better showing
the growth of the band. The awesome fast-paced jam "The Smoothie
Song" is the only instrumental track included here, which
seems a bit odd. Great tracks like "Somebody More Like You"
and "When You Come Back Down" are welcome additions
to the track listing on the first disc, which is rounded out by
a couple of live tracks that are nice recordings of now classic
Nickel Creek tunes. "You Don't Have To Move That Mountain"
recorded at The Freight & Salvage in November 2000 is a smooth
performance, Sara Watkins' vocals sounding remarkably resonant.
The more than nine-minute version of the classic "The Fox"
is from the same performance and features some incredible jamming
and soloing, showing the band in fine form. Chris Thile's
mandolin playing is clockwork and crisp, while Sean Watkins'
guitar carries the song lithely along its way as it weaves its
way into a classical piece by J.S. Bach and through Bob
Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" along with
some brilliant moments of improvisation.
The second disc is a DVD that features seven videos from the
band, which is a real bonus for those of us without cable television
- not that any station plays music videos anymore, anyway. The
early videos are very basic, showing the band performing the song
in a nice setting, or telling a bit of a story
but the video
for "This Side" breaks some barriers, involving more
cast and some cool effects, while "Speak" is a deeply
provocative story video and "The Smoothie Song" is just
plain fun. Watching these videos makes the music come alive in
a different light, which is definitely worth the price of the
While I would have liked to see such standout tracks as "The
Hand Song", "Hanging By A Thread", and "Green
And Grey" included on this compilation, all in all it is
a great collection of songs from an amazing band. So, if you're
not hip to the Nickel Creek tip, or know of someone who has
not yet heard the gospel, grab a copy of this great "hits"
package and get to stomping!
p.s. Sarah, the offer still stands. I'd marry you in an instant.
1. The Lighthouse's Tale
2. Out Of The Woods
3. When In Rome
5. Smoothie Song
6. Somebody More Like You
7. Reasons Why
8. Can't Complain
9. I Should've Known Better
10. This Side
11. Jealous Of The Moon
12. When You Come Back Down
13. You Don't Have To Move That Mountain (live)
14. The Fox (live)
1. Reasons Why
2. When You Come Back Down
3. Lighthouse's Tale
4. This Side
6. Smoothie Song
7. When In Rome
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