26 Miles

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
On his second solo album, Nickel Creek guitarist Sean Watkins ventures 26 Miles -- and then some -- from his mostly instrumental debut, though fans of the newgrass trio's richly textured, atmospheric songs and challenging instrumental set-tos will have no problem keeping up with him. In addition to sister Sara Watkins, NC's peerless fiddler, Watkins's guitar -- and vocals -- are supported by an instrumental backdrop woven of saxophone, piano, organ, drums, drum loops, and even a bassoon on the somber, hymn-like "Letters Never Sent." Working primarily in jazz, folk, and pop frameworks, Watkins saves the Nickel Creek aesthetic for his original songs, with narratives ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
On his second solo album, Nickel Creek guitarist Sean Watkins ventures 26 Miles -- and then some -- from his mostly instrumental debut, though fans of the newgrass trio's richly textured, atmospheric songs and challenging instrumental set-tos will have no problem keeping up with him. In addition to sister Sara Watkins, NC's peerless fiddler, Watkins's guitar -- and vocals -- are supported by an instrumental backdrop woven of saxophone, piano, organ, drums, drum loops, and even a bassoon on the somber, hymn-like "Letters Never Sent." Working primarily in jazz, folk, and pop frameworks, Watkins saves the Nickel Creek aesthetic for his original songs, with narratives exploring degrees of loneliness, unsteady relationships, and the search for love; he delivers these stories in a soft, airy tenor, instantly recognizable from the first fragile words and cool melody of "On Ice," a title that pretty much sums up this long-player's theme. The disc includes three striking instrumentals, including the stark, moody guitar-bass duet, "Creeping Beauty," and "N.M.I.," which mingles Watkins bright, fingerpicked melody, Sara's moaning fiddle, and Trip Sprague's perky sax commentary. The album closer, "Carousel," finds the Watkins siblings engaging in an impressionistic dialogue for fiddle and fingerpicked guitar, long on wistful harmonies and enveloping sadness, as Sean sings about a dizzying trip on a merry-go-round that soon reveals itself to be a metaphor for a fruitless search for love. A beautiful adagio for string quartet is a surprising but fitting coda to this solemn look at a man cut loose from his moorings. A stimulating journey the first time through, 26 Miles only gets more scenic with repeated trips.
All Music Guide - Charles Spano
On his second solo release, Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek further departs from progressive bluegrass to craft a collection of thoughtful and dour acoustic pop. 26 Miles still sparkles with clean, full production and a sense of crossing many genres, but this time Watkins lands a little closer to the likes of Grant Lee Phillips than Alison Brown. From the distinctly indie rock "On Ice" Death Cab for Cutie comes to mind to the alt-country rocker "Hiding," 26 Miles never reaches the exuberance of Nickel Creek, but that doesn't seem to be Watkins' goal here -- the album is much more likely to traffic in the wistful and downbeat than the rollicking and bouncy. Sara Watkins' harmony on "Locking Doors" is quite beautiful, which leads to an interesting point. Both this tune and the striking "On Ice" were written on tour as part of a game -- everyone had to write a song of the same title -- an exercise with astounding results. All in all, 26 Miles is distinctly a road album, written in the confusion and exhaustion of a tour. It's hardly uplifting, but Watkins negotiates the material deftly with an emotional subtlety.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/8/2003
  • Label: Sugarhill
  • UPC: 015891395524
  • Catalog Number: 3955
  • Sales rank: 272,465

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 On Ice (2:29)
  2. 2 Chicago (2:26)
  3. 3 Letters Never Sent (2:50)
  4. 4 N.M.I. (5:07)
  5. 5 Hiding (2:20)
  6. 6 Through the Spring (3:04)
  7. 7 Chutes & Ladders (5:43)
  8. 8 Take It Away (2:44)
  9. 9 Locking Doors (3:05)
  10. 10 26 Miles (4:06)
  11. 11 Creeping Beauty (2:07)
  12. 12 Brick Window (2:45)
  13. 13 Carousel (5:16)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Sean Watkins Primary Artist, Guitar, Piano, Electric Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, E-bow, Vocal Harmony
Dave Curtis Bass
Jon Brion Organ, Guitar, Hammond Organ, chamberlain, Piano (Upright)
Duncan Moore Drums, Loops
Tripp Sprague Saxophone
John Stubbs Violin
Kevin Hennessy Bass
Bob Magnuson Bass
Glen Phillips Vocal Harmony
Alex Palamidis Violin
Sara Watkins Fiddle
Technical Credits
Peter Sprague Engineer
Dan Abernathy Engineer
Doug Sax Mastering
Sean Watkins Producer, Engineer, Drum Samples
Wendy Stamberger Art Direction
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Beautiful and Contemplative

    26 Miles is, I think, my favorite of Sean Watkins' three solo albums. Not only is the music lovely, but the lyrics are very inspiring. Although I'm a huge bluegrass fan, and this work is a departure from the genre of Nickel Creek, the style of this album is perfect the way it is, and I get something more out of it every time I listen to it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Sean Watkins- 26 Miles

    As the follow up to his first album, Let It Fall, Sean seems to have definetly changed his style of music. As with all his music, and Nickel Creek in general, it has no genre. You can tell that it's influenced by jazz, country, rock, and maybe a little pop, and ofcourse there's some bluegrassy-feel to the music. It's a very interesting album to listen to. It's one of those that you can just let play and have an hour of enjoyment. You don't have to skip to the songs you want to hear because you always want to hear every song. It's an awesome album and there's definetly a style of music on there for everyone! WELL DONE SEAN!!

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews