The newly-reunited Nickel Creek share the bill with the Avett Brothers on the January 3rd episode of Austin City Limits, as the legendary live-music show begins its 40th season. Stopping by the set in the middle of their 25th anniversary tour, the folk trio of musical prodigies Chris Thile, Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins — who have been playing together since all were under the age of 12 — performed songs from their new album A Dotted Line, along with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Ledge.”
In this exclusive preview of the show (above), Sara takes lead vocals on “Destination,” a harmony-heavy breakup song, as Chris (on mandolin) and Sean (on guitar) effortlessly blend their backup vocals. The track, penned by the three bandmates, is up for Best American Roots Performance at February’s Grammy awards, while their new LP is up for Best Americana Album.
A Dotted Line started out as just an EP, to commemorate the band’s quarter-century mark. But after so many years apart, juggling other bands and solo projects, Thile and the Watkins siblings got on a songwriting roll and were pleasantly surprised at the way their separate musical paths were converging.
“There was no outlet before for what we wanted to express as individuals,” Thile told the New York Daily News of the reason for their breakup. “Now we can re-approach Nickel Creek with a hell of a lot more enthusiasm.”
Nickel Creek and the Avett Brothers’ Austin City Limits episode airs January 3rd at 9 p.m. ET on PBS. Other guests slated for this season include the Black Keys, Spoon, Sam Smith, Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis and Foo Fighters.