Thursday, March 10, 2005

"The Fox" by Nickel Creek

I enjoyed blogging the first Neckil Creek song so much that I decided to do another. This one is nice becuase the group shows off their vocal skill and ability to arrange an old folk song, as "The Fox" is a traditional folk melody unlike "Ode to a Butterfly" which Chris Thile wrote. This song has six verses with instrumental breaks after the second and fourth verses. It is probably in two-four which is fairly obvious by listening to the bass line. The mandolin plays for two measures and Thile begins to sing the verse. The melody for each five line verse is the same throughout the entire song. Sol-sol-mi-mi-mi-mi-re-do-do is "the-fox-went-out-on-a-chil-ly-night" all of these notes staying close to tonic and dominant. After this first verse the guitar begins and plays arppegiated chords. At the end of the second verse the melody sings do-do-re-re-sol-sol and at this point Sarah Watkins comes in on vocal harmony on town-o-town-o singing sol-sol-do-do with Thile's re-re-sol-sol, a very nice yet simple folk harmony. At this point you might expect the fiddle to join in but instead the bass starts for this first instrumental break. The huitar plays straight chords, the bass has a lot of1-2-1 with some 4's thrown in there, and of course the mandolin is featured. Thile sings the third verse and then the fiddle begins on the fourth which makes sense becuase the guitar came in on the second verse. The fiddle is subtle and harmonizing in this which is perfect since the second instrumental bread features the fiddle! This break is the same length as the first break. In the fourth verse the only instrument that plays along with vocals is the mandolin while Sarah does not sing harmony this time. That way the last verse has the whole group playing to their fullest. The song ends with a final instrumental part featuring the mandolin playing a very similar solo as that of the first instrumental break.
I enjoy the songs' simple harmonies and clever structure. Most of Nickel Creeks' songs from this album have a fairly formal structure, which makes sense considering what they were going after. Their second album is more risky and I Think they didn't want to make a huge splash on this one. Nothing is overdone or overplayed and I enjoy the control the exhibit as young artists.

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