Let’s be honest. If you’re good you’re good. Sarah Watkins is great. She is in the other room in my studio and she is “fooling around” on her fiddle/violin while Jonny gets the tones set to record her on a cd by our friend Hillary Watson and I am playing studio hostess just so I can listen in. I’ll grab tea, water, honey or whatever I need to just to be able to be an observer to what is the beauty of her playing. You may ask yourself “Who is Sarah Watkins?” She is one third of the band Nickel Creek. Lets just assume for your benefit that you have heard of and love this band. Their “Why should the fire die?” cd is one of my favorites and is a cd that I need for those moments when driving through the mountains, curling up inside when outside it is snowing, or I’m just feeling nostalgic about my country roots. So here I am…an observer. Just being in here has made me reflect about other times I have gotten to be an observer to musical beauty that has impacted me. I remember going to a Muse concert in 1999 just after their 1st cd was released in the U.S. They weren’t very well know here yet so they were playing in a very small club and I got to be abnormally close to such an extrememly talented band. One day they would be filliing up huge arenas and $50 tickets would only get you a seat in the nosebleed section. So here I am watching and wondering how they are going to pull off the things on their record with just the 3 of them. Also, one of their big songs at that point was a song that had an important piano part in it and this night there was no piano seen on the stage to be played. I think one of 2 things is going to happen and I’m not happy about either of them. 1. They are going to play the piano part on tracks (this means that no one in the band will be playing them but the piano part will mysteriously come out of the speakers from an unknown source). I know that if this happens then the huge amount of respect that I have for them will take a beating. When I go pay money to see someone perform live I don’t want them to play to their cd. I have the cd at home already. I came to see them pull off what is on the cd. So then I’m thinking the other option is 2. They just will play the song without the part. This will be a bummer because it is a huge hook in the song but it will be preferable to tracks. So here comes the song…what will it be? What kind of band are they? Lead singer stands with his electric guitar held high and starts playing the very difficult classical sounding piano piece on his guitar. Of course, this is what a real band does. They don’t fake it, they don’t abandon it they brainstorm and figure out a way to do it. Oh I was all smiles and excitement. They are the real deal and I was getting to observe. Another of my favorites was sitting in a club in San Diego and watching Patty Griffin sing like I had never heard someone sing live before. Sure she sings the roof off on her cd but now days I know the tricks that producers can do in the studio to make someone sound like they can sing when in fact they really can’t so I wasn’t getting my hopes up. So she begins…and proceeds to sing the roof off of the club. I am sure at that moment that the clubs walls had never heard such real honest singing. Her voice perfectly colors and compliments her every word. Each and every huge note was hit perfectly in pitch as well as passion. It was an evening, and this is rare, that I left feeling that her amazing vocals on her cd had actually been topped by her vocals live. Thank you Miss Griffin for letting me be an observer. So how about you? Where did you have one of these moments? How did it impact you and encourage you in this wonderful thing called music?