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A Conversation with Sara Watkins

Sara Watkins is headed to Ludlow Garage on Thursday, January 26thYoung in All the Wrong Ways, is the third album release from Sara Watkins. You may recognize her from her supporting role in The Decembrists and on A Prairie Home Companion, and most notably drawing crowds with her fiddle playing in Nickle Creek. Her early successes with her brother Sean Watkins and their childhood friend Chris Thile set a course for her that has allowed her to pursue the one thing that has been constant in her life, music. 

We were able to sit down with Sara to chat about her earliest memories of music being around the house,  releasing her own and third studio album, and music being a constant in her life.

Growing up with music in her words, “always around the house” charted a course where she could pursue an adventure into this thing called music. She sang along to kids tapes as a little kid which ironically enough, gave her a lesson in singing, and then at 6 years old she began taking violin lessons. And, as they say the rest is history. The pursuit, or the chase, has led her to where she is now touring on the shoulders of her third and latest album Young in All the Wrong Ways.

The album follows an arc that Sara has so eloquently expressed in and explored in each of her three albums. She, on this third release, gives you the bluegrass that she holds dear to her but adds to the salad bowl the grittiness of someone exploring something a little more swampy and dirty. The transition is subtle, and holding court is her voice. A woman that we have all watched grow up before our eyes, in a sense, isn’t leaving any of her past behind merely moving forward. I asked her how the past played into the new record and she said, “We can’t write about the future without considering the past, so the past plays into everything. Mistakes, nostalgia, disappointments, love, they all teach us about the person you want to become.” She certainly has taken this sentiment and brought it to this new record. The record as I see, is a glimpse into somebody whom has melded her worlds of roots music, and rock. The exploration into a sound that is exciting and bold, gritty, and nuanced.           

The horizon for her holds more touring, and through the summer, and the tour in general has been fulfilling and from her, “finding new way into these songs each night with my band(mates) David Garza and Michael Libramento.” She wouldn’t go into anything specific, but mentioned after all the touring, “there are more exciting projects to dig into.” Her future is bright with this new record and I highly recommend it. I love an album that I can listen to and never skip a song, and this is one of those albums. Perfect for road tripping wherever you may go, or listening to it however you listen to music.

We ended our conversation with the question, why music? She may have started young, however why this? Per Sara, “I got hooked early. It’s not just performing – it’s the community I get to be a part of. Being a musician affects how I see the world in every way. I couldn’t leave it if I tried.”