January 31, 2009
Alex Woodard and Sara Watkins continue the recent trend of rock/pop leaning artists dueting with country artists. For those who don’t know, Watkins was a member of the stellar Southern California-bred progressive bluegrass/acoustic trio, Nickel Creek. And Woodard, a Southern California surfer boy, is an independent roots rocker who released his self-titled album in August 2008.
This cut, which is found on Woodard’s album, showcases beautiful vocals by both artists – Woodard’s smooth voice is imbued with depth and confidence, and Watkins lovely voice is tinged with the right amount of wistful emotion. Unfortunately, neither the song - a ballad contemplating the end of a relationship - nor the production, do the artists justice. It is a surprise because Woodard is an excellent songwriter and Watkins an accomplished fiddler/violinist. However, in this instance, the lyrics are rather forgettable, and instead of coloring the song with genuine emotion, the violin-backed production comes off as slightly schmaltzy and pedestrian.
As both are talented, with different material, I look forward to hearing more from them – separately or together – in the future.
Alex Woodard with Sara Watkins, “Reno”