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Fiction Family
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Release Date
January 20, 2009
ATO Records

Sounds like … Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek teaming up for a blend of alt-folk/country in step with the music of artists like Wilco, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Ryan Adams, and Arlo Guthrie.

At a glance … though Foreman and Watkins certainly have their moments as Fiction Family, their inaugural album is not quite as enjoyable and engaging as it should be, offsetting the best songs with tracks that are sometimes boring and self-indulgent.

It's been over two years since the last original Switchfoot album, Oh! Gravity, and it'll probably be close to three before the next one releases. But Jon Foreman has kept the fans satisfied by keeping busy himself, releasing a slew of solo material over the course of 2008.

If that wasn't enough, the accomplished singer/songwriter forged an unlikely partnership with his friend Sean Watkins of progressive folk/country/rock band Nickel Creek (currently on hiatus as the three members pursue individual projects). The two artists have been acquainted since high school in San Diego, and gradually developed a friendship from sharing the stage with their respective bands over the years. In time, they decided to try writing together, and what began as a song or two on the side developed into a full-fledged album, recorded at home during spare time whenever the bands weren't touring (so yes, it took a while).

The resulting fruits of their labor are represented here as a side project and collaboration that the two have christened Fiction Family. Listeners are bound to have preconceptions and expectations with an album like this, so let's clarify its intended sound and scope.

First off, do not expect Switchfoot-meets-Nickel-Creek. While that would certainly ...

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