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Sara Watkins’ “Under the Pepper Tree” Out Now

March 29, 2021



Sara Watkins of the Grammy-winning groups Nickel Creek and I’m With Her, as well as Watkins Family Hour released her new solo album, Under The Pepper Tree, on Friday via New West Records. Created with families in mind, the personal project encompasses songs Sara embraced as a child herself and brings storytelling, solace, and encouragement to the listener, no matter the age. Met with widespread acclaim, Paste Magazine called it “…an album of pure comfort food, capable of thawing out even the coldest, most cynical hearts…its ineffable beauty makes the album a fast favorite for a person of any age to unwind after a long day.” American Songwriter said “…Watkins excels once again,” Holler said it “…makes for irresistibly innocent fun,” while the Associated Press called it “enchanting.”

Today, NPR’s All Songs Considered has dedicated an entire episode to Under The Pepper Tree and its songs. Calling it, “beautiful,” host Bob Boilen says, “Sara Watkins has just made an album for children. And this adult loves it.” Continuing, “I found such comfort in these songs, songs I hadn’t thought about or heard about in years.” Hear the 33 minute episode HERE.

In addition to two stunning originals, the album includes Sara’s renditions of “Pure Imagination” from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, The Beatles’ “Good Night,” “Moon River” (originally sung by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s), and more. Under the Pepper Tree reunites Sara’s Nickel Creek bandmates Chris Thile and her brother Sean on “Blue Shadows on the Trail” (from the 1986 comedy The Three Amigos), Sara’s I’m With Her bandmates Sarah Jarosz & Aoife O’Donovan on “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” (originally performed by Roy Rogers & Sons of the Pioneers), Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes on Harry Nilsson’s “Blanket for a Sail,” David Garza on Roy Orbison’s “Beautiful Dreamer,” and Sara’s now three-year old daughter on her immensely sweet rendition of The Sound of Music’s “Edelweiss.”

The nostalgic and gentle Under the Pepper Tree offers a comforting record for those moments as daily rhythms fade into nightly rituals — and when a child’s imagination comes to life. “I want this album to be a place of calm, imagination, and relief,” Sara says.

Sara sequenced the album’s 15 songs with the vinyl listening experience in mind. After forming the track listing of Side A and Side B, she then crafted transitions between the songs, making each half of the album seamlessly glide by. Sara says, “Although this album can certainly be enjoyed by listening all the way through, very early on in the planning I began thinking of it as something to be taken one side at a time. I imagine someone dropping the needle on side A one night, and side B the next.”

Under the Pepper Tree is available across digital platforms, on compact disc, and standard black vinyl. A limited to 1,500 Neon Pink with Metallic Silver Vinyl Edition is available at Independent Retailers worldwide, while a limited to 500 Translucent Blue Vinyl Edition is available directly via New West Records.