Sara and Sean Watkins are leading the collaborative Watkins Family Hour. The Californian bluegrass and folk project is active since 2002. Right at their twentieth anniversary year, they release Vol. 2. I had a listen before the release date of 19th August 2022.
Watkins Family Hour – About The Artists
The roots of Watkins Family Hour are in Los Angeles, where the project has been founded in 2002. The key drivers were, Sara and Sean Watkins. It took 13 years to release the project’s debut album: Watkins Family Hour has been released in June 2015 was a collection of cover songs. In 2020, Watkins Family Hour released their second and last album so far. The opener of that album, The Cure, has been streamed some two million times at Spotify.
Watkins Family Hour – Vol. 2 – Track by Track
The twelve song album lasts 38 minutes.
1. The Way I Feel Inside (feat. Lucius)
This opener comes with quite a bunch of ingredients: the original song is by the Zombies. Sara and Sean invited the indie-pop band for this song – the collaboration is a heavenly, almost fairly-like and fragile song
Most of the album is introducing you to collaboration with other bands and artists – for Hypnotized, the Watkins Family Hour works with their own resources only. The song has a nice bluegrass sound and almost feels a bit of jazzy to me.
3. Pitseleh (feat. Madison Cunningham)
For Pitseleh, a song by Elliot Smith, Madison Cunningham is joining the listen. The California folk-rock singer songwriter adds a nice wider and broader sound. While the song starts rather intimate, it has quite an intense climax at about the middle of it.
4. Thanks a Lot (feat. Jon Brion)
Jon Brion is especially adding value to this song by his beautiful solo parts. Very bassy song, which has a massive groove. Really enjoy listening to it.
5. The Late Show (feat. Jackson Browne)
The contrast between Thanks A Lot and The Late Show could hardly be bigger. Sara Watkins’ high voice gives a very different touch to this one, compared to the song before. Jackson Browne is contributing nicely to the instrumental and vocal parts.
6. Tennessee Waltz (feat. Benmont Tench)
Benmont Tench has been touring with Tom Petty – in this song, he is gently adding the piano sounds in the background. With that support, the all-time classic Tennessee Waltz feels very special and becomes one of the most beautiful listens of the album.
7. She Left Me Standing on the Mountain (feat. Willie Watson)
The seventh song is a rather snappy country-bluegrass track. I like to listen to She Left Me Standing on the Mountain for two key reasons. Majorly, it creates a certain kind of ease to the long-player. Second, the steel guitar and the general arrangement add some nice traditional Southern vibes.
8. We Were Meant to Be Together
The eighth song is the second (and last) track on the album without using guest musicians. The song comes with a beautiful, dreaming sound, which rather feels like folk music than bluegrass to me. Beautiful work on the guitar and the violin in here.
9. On the Outside (feat. Gaby Moreno)
Already the first chords of On the Outside feel rather rocking. However, the collaboration with Gaby Moreno develops to a lighter and easier listen than the track initially feels to be. Very nice harmonic vocals in here as well.
10. (Remember Me) I’m the One Who Loves You (feat. Fiona Apple)
Fiona Apple takes over the vocal role in the tenth track. Dean Martin’s classic sounds so beautifully different in here. Great work on the piano as well. Very good selection as a single release.
11. Grief and Praise (feat. Madison Cunningham)
The credits just name Madison Cunningham, but in fact, Grief and Praise is supported by a choir of former Watkins Family Hour supporters and touring musicians. This turns the closer into a fantastic farewell.
Watkins Family Hour – Vol. 2 – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Watkins Family Hour – Vol. 2 – My View
Wow, that’s amazing. Despite it is a cover album, you feel like being invited to Watkins Family Hour’s very own sound. The guest musicians add massive value and Grief and Praise works as a memorable finale. Vol. 2 is likely not a mainstream listener’s favorite, but a beautiful piece of musical work.
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