I’m a Fan Friday: Twenty-One for 2021 – #2

Manhattan, NYC – August 2019

The first time I heard the band Nickel Creek was just over twenty years ago.

They were playing the Pennsylvania Folk Festival that summer, and Malisa and I drove from south Jersey – where we were living at the time – just for the day so we could see them live.

We had worn their self-titled CD completely out in the car, over the prior year or so. We were so excited to see them in person.

The other acts that preceded them (they were the headliners) were good. We enjoyed them.

But when Nickel Creek came out, I could instantly feel something was about to be dialed up several musical notches.

The first thing I thought was that they all looked even younger in person than on their album cover – a feat that in itself I found pretty extraordinary. That was instantly wiped to the side in my consciousness when they began to play.

Amazing musicians, all three of them, but Chris Thile almost instantly commanded all of my attention. His complete and utter control over his mandolin led to an offering that my heart gratefully accepted and, at one point, left me in a puddle of tears I never expected to shed.

I’ve posted about him several times on this blog, and you’ll definitely be hearing more about him here in the future.

This video, though, is something uniquely special.

Vulfpeck is a funk band out of Minnesota, one with which Thile has performed several times. Their “Live from Madison Square Garden” show is terrific.

This video is taken from Live From Here with Chris Thile and is one of the most soul-lifting performances out there in the videosphere.

Pay special attention (after you’ve listened to it all the way through a time or two, of course) to the 3:00 minute mark.

Chris, Joe Dart (bass), Cory Wong (guitar), and Woody Goss (keys), take this jam session in a direction that begins at 3:00 and culminates in something that EVERYONE KNOWS IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN at 3:19!


How is it we all know where that arriving point is in the music? We all know when it occurs, and there is no way to hold back the knowing of it.

What is that connection?

That, my friends, is art at its very best!


Author: Scott Langdon

Scott Langdon is an actor and writer living just outside of Philadelphia in Bristol, Pennsylvania with his wife, Sarah, and their dog, Watson. Before the Time of Covid, he could be seen on stages throughout the professional Philadelphia theater community or writing in a local Starbucks, where the only way they could get rid of him was to tell him there was a pandemic. He has a hard time knowing when he's not wanted.

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