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Sara Watkins|Under the Pepper Tree

Under the Pepper Tree

Sara Watkins

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Ostensibly a children's record meant as bedtime lullabies full of optimism, Sara Watkins' new album is also an ideal salve for adults. The singer-songwriter-fiddler extraordinaire, known for her work with the "progressive bluegrass" band Nickel Creek as well as her own lovely solo albums, has created an album like no other. There is no turning alt-rock tunes into kids' stuff here, or any of the repetitive baby talk that makes parents want to bang their heads against a wall. Watkins chooses some of the prettiest classics imaginable and handles them with extreme cares. The album opens with "Pure Imagination"—aka "the Willy Wonka song"—and it's magical: filled with dramatic pauses and the singer's signature flourishes. Her warm voice wavers like butterfly wings, the slight California bluegrass twang dipping in and out, against fluttering strings. Each song slides directly into the next with barely a delay, and "Pure Imagination" is a perfect match for Disney's "Second Star on the Right," which then slips into an absolutely delightful version of "Blue Shadows on the Trail," reuniting Watkins with Nickel Creek bandmates Sean Watkins (her guitarist brother) and Chris Thile. Their harmonizing on lines like "all of the doggies are in the corral, all of your work is done" is pure comfort and joy, and a nod to the Watkins siblings' childhood performances at Western conventions. It's one of two tracks first made famous by Roy Rogers, along with "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds," for which Watkins is joined by I'm With Her bandmates Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O'Donovan. There are enchanting covers of "Moon River" and the Jiminy Cricket charmer "When You Wish Upon a Star," along with two originals: the ballad "Night Singing" and the instrumental title song, a wisp of tremulous fiddle. Watkins duets with Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith on a jaunty cover of Harry Nilsson's "Blanket for a Sail"—accompanied by gentle percussion, its melody rolls like ebb-current waves—and guitarist Davíd Garza on the Stephen Foster serenade "Beautiful Dreamer." She also teams up with her own young daughter for an impossibly delicate "Edelweiss," seemingly breathing the words more than singing them so as not to overwhelm the toddler's sweetness. It's all retro in the best possible way. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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Under the Pepper Tree

Sara Watkins

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1
Pure Imagination
00:03:08

Anthony Newley, Composer - Leslie Bricusse, Composer - Sara Watkins, MainArtist - Downtown DMP Songs (BMI) / Taradam Music Inc. (BMI), MusicPublisher

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Downtown DMP Songs (BMI) / Taradam Music Inc. (BMI)

2
The Second Star to the Right
00:01:36

Sammy Cahn, Composer - Sammy Fain, Composer - Sara Watkins, MainArtist - Walt Disney Music Company (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Walt Disney Music Company (ASCAP)

3
Blue Shadows on the Trail
00:02:37

Eliot Daniel, Composer - Sara Watkins, MainArtist - Johnny Lange, Composer - Walt Disney Music Company (ASCAP), MusicPublisher - Nickel Creek, FeaturedArtist

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Walt Disney Music Company (ASCAP)

4
Edelweiss
00:02:07

Richard Rodgers, Composer - Oscar Hammerstein II , Composer - Sara Watkins, MainArtist - Williamson Music Co (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Williamson Music Co (ASCAP)

5
Moon River
00:02:50

Henry Mancini, Composer - Sara Watkins, MainArtist - John Mercer, Composer - Sony ATV Harmony (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Sony ATV Harmony (ASCAP)

6
Under the Pepper Tree
00:01:09

Sara Watkins, Composer, MainArtist - Fiddle and Fall Music (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Fiddle and Fall Music (ASCAP)

7
When You Wish Upon a Star
00:03:08

Ned Washington, Composer - Leigh Harline, Composer - Sara Watkins, MainArtist - Bourne Co (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Bourne Co (ASCAP)

8
Night Singing
00:02:11

Sara Watkins, Composer, MainArtist - Fiddle and Fall Music (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Fiddle and Fall Music (ASCAP)

9
La La Lu
00:01:55

Peggy Lee, Composer - Sara Watkins, MainArtist - Walt Disney Music Company (ASCAP), MusicPublisher - Francis J Burke, Composer

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Walt Disney Music Company (ASCAP)

10
Tumbling Tumbleweeds
00:02:42

Sara Watkins, MainArtist - BOB NOLAN, Composer - Music Of The West (BMI), MusicPublisher - I’m With Her, FeaturedArtist

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Music of the West (BMI)

11
Blanket for a Sail
00:02:42

HARRY NILSSON, Composer - Sara Watkins, MainArtist - Golden Syrup Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Golden Syrup Music (BMI)

12
Beautiful Dreamer
00:01:51

PUBLIC DOMAIN, MusicPublisher - Stephen Foster, Composer - Sara Watkins, MainArtist

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Public Domain

13
Stay Awake
00:02:12

Richard Sherman, Composer - Sara Watkins, MainArtist - Robert Sherman, Composer - Wonderland Music Company Inc (BMI), MusicPublisher

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Wonderland Music Company Inc (BMI)

14
You’ll Never Walk Alone
00:02:01

Richard Rodgers, Composer - Oscar Hammerstein II , Composer - Sara Watkins, MainArtist - Harthon Enterprises (BMI), MusicPublisher

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Harthon Enterprises (BMI)

15
Good Night
00:03:48

John Lennon, Composer - Paul Mccartney, Composer - Sara Watkins, MainArtist - Northern Songs (BMI), MusicPublisher

2021 New West Records, LLC 2021 Northern Songs (BMI)

Album Description

Ostensibly a children's record meant as bedtime lullabies full of optimism, Sara Watkins' new album is also an ideal salve for adults. The singer-songwriter-fiddler extraordinaire, known for her work with the "progressive bluegrass" band Nickel Creek as well as her own lovely solo albums, has created an album like no other. There is no turning alt-rock tunes into kids' stuff here, or any of the repetitive baby talk that makes parents want to bang their heads against a wall. Watkins chooses some of the prettiest classics imaginable and handles them with extreme cares. The album opens with "Pure Imagination"—aka "the Willy Wonka song"—and it's magical: filled with dramatic pauses and the singer's signature flourishes. Her warm voice wavers like butterfly wings, the slight California bluegrass twang dipping in and out, against fluttering strings. Each song slides directly into the next with barely a delay, and "Pure Imagination" is a perfect match for Disney's "Second Star on the Right," which then slips into an absolutely delightful version of "Blue Shadows on the Trail," reuniting Watkins with Nickel Creek bandmates Sean Watkins (her guitarist brother) and Chris Thile. Their harmonizing on lines like "all of the doggies are in the corral, all of your work is done" is pure comfort and joy, and a nod to the Watkins siblings' childhood performances at Western conventions. It's one of two tracks first made famous by Roy Rogers, along with "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds," for which Watkins is joined by I'm With Her bandmates Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O'Donovan. There are enchanting covers of "Moon River" and the Jiminy Cricket charmer "When You Wish Upon a Star," along with two originals: the ballad "Night Singing" and the instrumental title song, a wisp of tremulous fiddle. Watkins duets with Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith on a jaunty cover of Harry Nilsson's "Blanket for a Sail"—accompanied by gentle percussion, its melody rolls like ebb-current waves—and guitarist Davíd Garza on the Stephen Foster serenade "Beautiful Dreamer." She also teams up with her own young daughter for an impossibly delicate "Edelweiss," seemingly breathing the words more than singing them so as not to overwhelm the toddler's sweetness. It's all retro in the best possible way. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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