The Incredible Folk: Sean Watkins, The Haden Triplets, Seamus Egan Project & Shane Parish


Sean Watkins & The Bee Eaters: This Is Who We Are

It’s never not a good time to dive into some stellar folk and roots music and 2020 has already given us a healthy dose of rec-worthy releases in that realm. So, shall we? Let’s start with veteran picker Sean Watkins. Formerly one-third of Nickel Creek, Watkins matches up with masterful string trio, The Bee Eaters (featuring brother-sister duo Tristan and Tashina Clarridge and Simon Chrisman) on This Is Who We Are, out earlier this winter. This is a classic example of everyone bringing out the best in each other, with wonderful originals and some cool covers, with an excellent rendition of “Graceland” serving as the keystone in a no-let-down set. Americana music at its finest, enjoy!

The Haden Triplets: The Family Songbook

Both Watkins and the Bee Eaters are no strangers to playing music with siblings and this next pick takes that to the extreme. The Haden Triplets – music-in-their-blood Petra, Rachel and Tanya – are on their own voices worth listening to. Together, though? They sound like they very much were born to harmonize together. Taking on some of the all-time great American songbook selections and, get this, debuting newly discovered music written by their grandfather, the sisters will give you goosebumps over and over. They’re backed by some of the best in the biz, including Bill Frisell, this is a must-hear for any folk fan.

Seamus Egan Project: Early Bright

Seamus Egan is new to me, but definitely not new to making traditional music. He was a founding member of Solas and his newest project’s latest release, Early Bright is a revelation of folk delights. This is one of those albums that has you going “hey, this is pretty good!” one track after the other, with increasing excitement. Egan plays just about everything on the record, from banjo and guitar to keyboard, percussion and more. And dang, it all sounds wonderful. This is some easy to love Irish-centric instrumental music. Highly recommended.

Shane Parish: Way Haul Away

This one could have easily mixed in with last week’s set of killer guitar music, but it fits in just as well here. The guitarist here is Shane Parish and the record is Way Haul Away. Actually, the full title has the subtitle of A Collection Of Fireside Songs and that tells you just about all you need to know about the transfixing, fire-dance mood brought on by Parish’s guitar playing. Lovely and hypnotic, these pieces are right up there with some of the best acoustic guitar masters of the day. Check it out, I think you’ll dig! I think that’ll do it for this week, enjoy ‘em and, as always, let me know what new discoveries you’ve been enjoying.