You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Album review | ROOTS

Nickel Creek, ‘A Dotted Line’

Brantley Gutierrez

When this virtuosic roots trio went on “indefinite hiatus” in 2007 it wasn’t to take a vacation, although they’d certainly earned one having played together since childhood. Instead, all three singer-instrumentalists — mandolinist Chris Thile, fiddler Sara Watkins, and guitarist Sean Watkins — pursued a plethora of solo and group projects that traversed bluegrass, country, pop, rock, and classical.

But like old friends who fall right back into conversation, Nickel Creek picks up the thread in glorious fashion on “A Dotted Line.”

Continue reading below

The time away has done the California-spawned group good, as the conversation is familiar — intricate instrumental phrasing, pristine harmonies — but also full of fresh energy that lends everything from the buoyant gospel bluegrass of “21st of May” to the joyously bleary “Rest of My Life” an air of excitement.

In addition to new original material the trio tackles two covers including Sam Phillips’s “Where Is Love Now” and a funky, angular take on Mother Mother’s “Hayloft.”

Celebrating the band’s 25th anniversary, “A Dotted Line” is a vibrant reminder of Nickel Creek’s youthful promise and proof that it has plenty left to say. (Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “Destination”

Nickel Creek plays the House of Blues on May 1.

Sarah Rodman can be reached at
Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of