Watkins Family Hour

Watkins Family Hour

by Watkins Family HourWatkins Family Hour


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Born out of a long-term residency gig at L.A.'s popular nightclub Largo, Watkins Family Hour is a sort of variety show and spontaneous jam session hosted by multi-instrumentalist siblings Sean and Sara Watkins, formerly of the progressive bluegrass group Nickel Creek. Since 2002, the Watkins siblings have been offered the Largo stage for one night a month to showcase new songs, collaborate with friends, play random covers, and essentially let their hair down in any way that pleases them. A hotspot for an eclectic swath of musicians and comics, Largo has generated a wide variety of unscripted Family Hour guest spots from people like Jackson Browne, John C. Reilly, Booker T., and Pete Holmes. Over the years the Watkins' show has taken on a loose structure with L.A. veterans Benmont Tench (piano), Greg Leisz (pedal steel, Dobro), Sebastian Steinberg (bass), and Don Heffington (drums) setting up shop as the Family Hour house band. Coming from a roots music background of folk, country, and bluegrass, it's the type of venture that would be right at home in Nashville, but is a bit of an anomaly in L.A., where they're more likely to bump elbows with Largo regulars like Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, and Fiona Apple, the latter of whom joins them on their first studio venture. With the idea of taking the Family Hour on the road, producer Sheldon Gomberg brought Sean and Sara into the studio along with their house band to record a diverse set of covers that captures the casual attitude and frequently stunning musicianship of their monthly live shows. Perhaps the best thing about Watkins Family Hour's debut is the communal feeling of a group of seasoned musicians playing to their collective strengths. In this band no one is a star and, at one point or another, nearly everyone takes a turn at the mic. Sean Watkins' easygoing rendition of Roger Miller's "Not in Nottingham" and Sara's heart-rending version of the Grateful Dead's 1970 classic "Brokedown Palace" are immediate highlights, as is the spunky Harlan Howard-penned "Where I Ought to Be," in which Sara and guest singer Fiona Apple trade verses in between some tasty pedal steel work from Leisz. The album's most inventive arrangement is the wonderful "Hop High," a traditional Appalachian song that segues from a darkly intimate folk-blues intro by Sara into a fiery showstopper that is as strong a showcase for the band as you'll find outside of seeing them live. As a stage experiment, Watkins Family Hour has thrived for 13 years, and now with a fine record to document their efforts, they've hit on a format that could offer boundless possibilities for years to come.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/24/2015
Label: Family Hour Records
UPC: 0696859946196
catalogNumber: 1

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Watkins Family Hour   Primary Artist
Benmont Tench   Organ,Piano,Vocals
Don Heffington   Drums,Vocals
Greg Leisz   Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar,Vocal Harmony
Sebastian Steinberg   Bass,Guitar
Fiona Apple   Vocals
Sara Watkins   Fiddle,Vocals
Sean Watkins   Bass,Guitar,Vocals

Technical Credits

Gordon Lightfoot   Composer
Lindsey Buckingham   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
Jerry Garcia   Composer
Robert Hunter   Composer
Roger Miller   Composer
Harlan Howard   Composer
Robert Earl Keen   Composer
Lee Ving   Composer
Dickey Lee Lipscomb   Composer
Sheldon Gomberg   Producer,Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Sara Watkins   Liner Notes
Sean Watkins   Liner Notes
Jason Gossman   Engineer
Larry Fergusson   Engineer
Watkins Family Hour   Arranger,Producer
Saunders Montgomery   Composer

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