The Secret Sisters, Nickel Creek Delight at the Ryman Auditorium

The Secret Sisters
photo courtesy EB Media

The Ryman Auditorium audience on Good Friday (April 18) was treated to a special twofer of roots music excellence, featuring the sweet vocals of The Secret Sisters and the instrumental prowess of reunited Nickel Creek.

Sisters Lydia and Laura Rogers, natives of Muscle Shoals, Ala., brought their Everly Brothers-style harmonies to a short but engaging set that consisted mainly of selections from the duo’s new album, Put the Needle Down. Performances included “Pocket Knife” (originally recorded by PJ Harvey), “Black and Blue” and “Iuka,” a spooky tune that Laura introduced by saying, “If it’s alright with you, we’re going to sing about murder.”

The sisters also offered up “Tennessee Me” from their self-titled first album, which Laura noted was written about an experience with a “mean ol’ boy,” and closed out with the torchy “Bad Habit” from the new album.

The crowd was enthusiastic for the return of Nickel Creek, back together after a seven-year hiatus. Sean Watkins, his sister Sara and Chris Thile were all in fine form, cranking out blazing, tasteful solos in their intriguing hybrid of bluegrass, rock and pop styles.

“It’s not a good Friday, it’s a great Friday,” joked Chris Thile, comically banging his head into the microphone as if to apologize for his wisecrack. At numerous points, audience members shouted out, “We missed you!”

The group’s set included old favorites “When You Come Back Down,” “The Lighthouse’s Tale,” “Doubting Thomas” and “Somebody More Like You” as well as new songs “21st of May,” “Rest of My Life,” “You Don’t Know What’s Going On” and the instrumental “Elephant in the Corn” from the 2014 album A Dotted Line.

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