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All mainstays of the acoustic, folk and roots music world, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan crossed paths many times throughout their careers. So it comes as no surprise that, after an impromptu performance at the 2014 Telluride Bluegrass Festival, all the pieces fell into place for these three acclaimed musicians to collaborate. Watkins, Jarosz and O’Donovan’s first performance will be at 2015’s Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland, an event at which they have each performed individually.
Sara Watkins is a singer-songwriter and fiddler from California. She debuted in 1989 as fiddler and founding member of the progressive bluegrass group Nickel Creek along with her brother Sean and mandolinist Chris Thile. In addition to singing and playing fiddle, she also plays ukulele and guitar, and played percussion while touring with The Decemberists. She has two solo albums, Sara Watkins and Sun Midnight Sun on Nonesuch Records. In addition to touring on her own, she just completed a Nickel Creek reunion tour in celebration of the band’s first release in seven years, A Dotted Line. Sara and Sean Watkins also produce the Watkins Family Hour, a monthly residency and podcast at the Los Angeles venue Largo, featuring an eclectic group of guest musicians, comedy and more.
Sarah Jarosz is a multi-Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who hails from just outside of Austin, TX and makes her home in New York City. Now 23-years-old, she graduated in 2013 from New England Conservatory in the same month that she completed Build Me Up From Bones, her third album for Sugar Hill Records following 2009’s debut Song Up In Her Head and 2011’s Follow Me Down. Jarosz, who fits comfortably where contemporary folk, Americana and roots music intersect, has long been embraced for the depth and maturity of her songwriting, her pure and nuanced vocals, and her instrumental mastery – switching between octave mandolin, banjo, guitar and mandolin as the songs dictate. Build Me Up From Bones garnered two Grammy nominations and made NPR’s Top Ten Folk and Americana albums for 2013. It was also nominated for the Americana Music Association’s Album of the Year. She has appeared on Conan, Austin City Limits, A Prairie Home Companion and the BBC Series The Transatlantic Sessions.
Boston born Aoife O’Donovan is known for her ethereal vocals and substantive songwriting. After graduating from New England Conservatory, O’Donovan hit the road as the lead singer and principal songwriter/song-finder of Crooked Still, which grew into one of the world’s most acclaimed progressive string groups over the ensuing decade. The stunning versatility and appeal of her voice brought her to the attention of some of the most eminent names in music and led to collaborations across a wide variety of genres with everyone from Alison Krauss to Dave Douglas and regular appearances on A Prairie Home Companion, along with a role as vocalist on the Grammy-winning Goat Rodeo Sessions alongside Chris Thile, Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer and Stuart Duncan. In 2012, the now Brooklyn-based musician went to Portland, OR to fulfill her dream of recording an album with celebrated producer Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists). Rich in tender vocals and unexpected textures, the resulting solo debut album, Fossils, bears the remarkable fruits of their creative partnership.