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Sean Watkins and The Bee Eaters - " Suzy Lighting

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Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sean Watkins has long been known for his work as one-third of the Grammy Award-winning Nickel Creek and, more recently, for helming the genre-hopping Watkins Family Hour ensemble with his sister, Sara. But Watkins has also assertively and impressively taken on the role of solo artist, releasing solo-albums All I Do Is Lie (2014) and What To Fear (2016) to critical acclaim. Currently, Watkins is boldly stepping into the spotlight once again, teaming up with West-coast bluegrass legends, The Bee Eaters, with a delightful new folk album This Is Who We Are. For Watkins, creating an album with The Bee Eaters has always been a dream and creative goal, one he finally attained with This Is Who We Are. Watkins states, "The Bee Eaters are one of my very favorite bands, they’re absolutely one of a kind. They have an incredibly unique sound and energy, and it was a real privilege to get to make this record with them.”

"The Bee Eaters are the instrumental cream of the brand-new string nation” (Darol Anger) and their commanding string-prowess is on full display on This Is Who We Are. Edgar Meyer (3 time Grammy-winning composer and MacArthur Fellow) praises The Bee Eaters as well, stating “It is a joy to hear both the exploration of this music and the grounding of it simultaneously. Also, I love the emphasis on the simple beauty of the acoustic instruments.” This Is Who We Are melds Watkins' tremendous warmth and soulfulness as a singer, refreshing candor and humor as a lyricist, and prodigious skill as an arranger with The Bee Eaters’ string-band expertise of “...finely calibrated arrangements with bluegrass’s playful virtuosity and pop music’s melodic resourcefulness” (The Boston Globe).

Watkins reflects on the purpose of and ideas behind This Is Who We Are, stating, "The majority of subject matter in the original songs on this record are ideas I’ve been thinking and talking a lot with friends in the last year or so. From the question of what it is about certain writings/teachings/art that enables it to transcend millennia, to our need for self-reflection as a nation, to how to maintain a small town feel and community while living in a large city like Los Angeles. The conversations and ideas that sparked the original songs on this record also brought about my idea to make this more than just an album of songs. I want each song to be a conversational starting point which is what lead to the idea of making a podcast as well as an album."

Produced with faciltiies provided by Vermont Community Access Media (VCAM).

Episode Number: 
Original Airdate: 
Monday, March 9, 2020

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