3 p.m., Aug. 16
Switchfoot/Nickel Creek superduo Fiction Family's new album drops 1-29-13
Currently signed to NJ-based Rock Ridge Music, Fiction Family will release their sophomore album Fiction Family Reunion (with distribution via ADA) on January 29, 2013.
The second full-length partnership of Jon Foreman (Switchfoot) and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek) sees the duo once again offering up their idiosyncratic blend of folk flavor, classic pop arrangements, and expertly etched songcraft.
Where 2009’s self-titled debut was almost entirely self-created by the two musician/songwriters working in their own home studios, the new album finds the duo joined by touring bassist Tyler Chester and drummer Aaron Redfield, both now full-fledged Family members. With Foreman and Watkins leading on vocals, guitars, and any other instrument that might happen to strike their fancy, new songs such as the tender “Damaged” and the soulful first single, “Up Against The Wall,” reverberate with lyrical resonance and sonic ingenuity, the extraordinary natural sound of a gifted band in full flight.
The new album was recorded at Switchfoot’s Spot X Studio in Carlsbad over a series of sessions spanning 2010 to early 2012, the lengthy process necessitated by Foreman's and Watkins’ busy schedules. A family in more than just name only, the band was joined on a number of tracks by Nickel Creek fiddle player Sara Watkins and multi-instrumentalist John Mark Painter.
An upcoming North American tour is planned, to be presented by To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA’s Heavy & Light Tour is slated to hit 15 cities across the U.S. and Canada.
Fiction Family was formerly known as the Real SeanJon, a name chosen in the hopes that Sean "Sean John" Combs would sue them, but wiser heads prevailed.
Watkins has kept busy since the hiatus of the Grammy award-winning trio Nickel Creek. Besides his solo recordings, he hosted a weekly residency at the Largo in Los Angeles known as "The Watkins Family Hour," which regularly featured guests such as his sister and fellow Nickel Creek bandmate Sara Watkins, as well as Fiona Apple, John C. Reilly, Greg Leisz and Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Jackson Browne was also known to join the Watkins duo and their friends for a few songs.
Sean’s sister and Creek bandmate Sara Watkins done solo recordings, including an album produced by John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. Her group the Scrolls includes brother Sean, as well as Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket), Davy Faragher (Cracker), Benmont Tench (Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers), Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello’s Attractions), Greg Leisz, and Luke Bulla. Fellow Nickel Creek alum Chris Thile (with the Punch Brothers) also released a solo record.
Switchfoot singer/guitarist Jon Foreman hasn’t left that band, but he has been flexing his solo muscles, releasing two double-EPs in 2007.
The seemingly unlikely duo met a few years ago at the 2003 Street Scene featuring Wilco, R.E.M., Nickel Creek and Switchfoot. Over time, they began writing songs together, which quickly turned into a full-length album consisting of 12 original tracks written, arranged and recorded by Watkins and Foreman at their homes in San Diego.
Since both are vocalists and multi-instrumentalists, they often take turns singing lead vocals, and they both play several instruments on each song including guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, baritone ukulele, piano, organ, mandolin, steel guitar, 12-string guitar and more. Sara Watkins is featured on a few songs as well, as is drummer Aaron Redfield, but all the remaining music was made by the Foreman/Watkins duo.
"It's almost the ideal artistic setup," Foreman explains, "because you don't really care about timing or any commercial aspect. We figured it'd probably never come out and we'd probably never finish it. But, hey, we've got these songs, so we're just gonna work on them when we feel like it."
Their self-titled debut album, released January 20, 2008 via ATO Records. The deluxe CD edition features a cover of "Friday I'm In Love" by the Cure. Fiction Family last toured in early 2009.