Watkins Family Hour with Fiona Apple, Don Heffington, and Sebastian Steinberg | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Watkins Family Hour

Watkins Family Hour

Roman Cho

Watkins Family Hour with Fiona Apple, Don Heffington, and Sebastian Steinberg Recommended Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Sold Out (Music) All Ages Member Picks

When: Tue., Aug. 4, 8 p.m., Wed., Aug. 5, 8 p.m. and Thu., Aug. 6, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: sold out
Back in 2002, when their band Nickel Creek ditched a pure bluegrass sound and approached the peak of its popularity, siblings Sean and Sara Watkins launched a monthly night at famed LA nightclub Largo that doubled as a kind of live laboratory. Dubbed the “Watkins Family Hour” by club owner Mark Flanagan, the show was an ode to old country radio programs, and indeed, country and bluegrass were big parts of the fun, but the endeavor also embraced strains of popular music. The night expanded into a recording project as the siblings just released an eponymous album through Thirty Tigers that demonstrates their catholic sensibilities. There’s honky-tonk, old-time music, and folk-pop, but the endeavor also makes space for Fleetwood Mac’s “Steal Your Heart Away” and former Fear front man Lee Ving’s “The King of the 12 Ounce Bottles.” Even the backing musicians get a chance to sing: keyboardist Benmont Tench (of Tom Petty fame) takes a jazzy stroll through “Prescription for the Blues,” while pedal-steel master Greg Leisz tackles Bob Dylan’s “Going Going Gone.” Along with some of LA’s most versatile session players, the Watkins kids have created a kind of sprawling revue that finds its center thanks to the personalities of its performers. Though Leisz isn't part of the tour, Tench, bassist Sebastian Steinberg, and drummer Don Heffington will be present, as will regular participant Fiona Apple. But it’s the sweet voice of Sara Watkins that dominates, setting the tone for a richly melodic folk-rock sound informed by the history of American roots music. —Peter Margasak
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