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REVIEW; Sara Watkins at Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd .....

Byline: Alison Stokes

AS one third of the Grammy award-winning bluegrass band Nickel Creek, fiddle player Sara Watkins has played on some of America's largest stages and worked with some of country's greatest names - including Dolly Parton and Alison Krauss.

So a crowd of less than 100 at the Muni was something of a low-key affair in comparison. It was the Californian's first visit to Wales in her 10-year musical career and only the third night of her UK tour as a solo artist.

With her brother Sean at her side and fiddle in hand, Watkins gave a performance that was intimate and enticing. She flirted with the audience and bickered with her brother in between songs.

The set swung from the playfulness of Miss My Kisses to the raw emotion of Too Much, Watkins' voice hovering between husky and honey like a refined Cerys Matthews.

There were tracks from her self-titled solo album which was produced duced by Led Zeppelin's John Paul ones and solo renditions of Nickel favourites, like Beat Of A Different Drum and Reasons Why.

Jones Creek ferent She The Pon When shouted Shegave herowntwist to Morrissey's he More You Ignore Me, TomWaits' ony and Bob Dylan's Forever Young.

a voice from the audience "you're better without Chris" - a reference to mandolin player Chris Thile who made up the other part of Nickel Creek - Watkins replied: "I respect your opinion but I have to disagree."

On the strength of her solo performance, I have to agree with that voice.

Alison Stokes
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 8, 2010
Words:255
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