Nickel Creek Josh Goleman

NICKEL CREEK
THURSDAY 5/2. The Hall. 8 p.m. $40-$90. 

Despite being bluegrass aficionados, Nickel Creek — founded in 1989 by Chris Thile (mandolin) and siblings Sara (fiddle) and Sean Watkins (guitar) when all three were merely preteens — has always kept the genre at an arm’s length. The trio certainly boasts the chops to traffic exclusively in traditional music (no list of the best mandolin players in the world is complete without Thile), but they’ve always had a soft spot for poppiness, too, meaning that their respectful renditions of hand-me-down folk ditties and rhythmically sophisticated original instrumentals are sandwiched in between songs that highlight their gifts as sugary stringers of melody. No matter how technical the group can sometimes get, what keeps them from losing orbit is their vocal chemistry, with Sara Watkins’ often plaintive delivery offering a counterpoint to Thile’s piercingly precise tenor. Their last two albums — 2014’s “A Dotted Line” and 2023’s “Celebrants” — were both released after several years of hiatus, so don’t miss out on what might be another short-lived reunion. Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno is set to open. Get tickets here.

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