Record Label News – Nickel Creek Goes Gold – Van Halen Exits Warner Bros. – Flatlanders Sign With New West Records

Acoustic group Nickel Creek's self-titled debut hit sales of over 500,000 units this week; the record was released in March 2000. Not only is it the first gold record for the band, but a first for Sugar Hill Records and the Welk Music Group.

Nickel Creek first came to the attention of Sugar Hill Records over a decade ago, playing the bluegrass circuit when the youngest member was only eight years old. The label released two solo projects by mandolinist Chris Thile in his early teens before the band's debut produced by Alison Krauss.

Highly regarded as the premier label for American roots music of all types, Sugar Hill Records was founded in 1978 to fill a niche for quality traditional music with initial flagship artists Jerry Douglas and Ricky Skaggs in a band called Boone Creek. Skaggs' 1984 album "Don't Cheat In Our Hometown" was released as a co-venture with Epic Records and was certified gold. The label also boasts nine Grammy Awards, 35 Grammy nominations and countless International Bluegrass Association trophies for its varied roster. In 1998, Sugar Hill became part of the Welk Music Group, owners of Vanguard Records, and the two labels joined marketing, sales and promotion forces.

Nickel Creek is currently in the studio with Krauss as producer, to finish the second Sugar Hill album tentatively scheduled for release in early fall. The band is managed in Nashville's Q Prime offices by John Peets. Nickel Creek is booked by the William Morris Agency.

Van Halen Exits Warner Bros.

After 25 years, 11 studio albums and three lead singers, Van Halen has left Warner Bros. Records in what has been described as an amicable departure.

Flatlanders Sign With New West Records

The Flatlanders, featuring Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale
Gilmore and Butch Hancock, have signed to New West Records with
as-yet-untitled label debut album scheduled for release May 21.

The Flatlanders' recording history is that of storybook legend proportions.
The trio began in Lubbock, Texas in the early 1970s, recording one album
of songs in 1972 that was originally released only on eight-track tape.
Ten years later the album was released on vinyl and cassette in England,
where it became a cult hit. In 1990, Rounder Records released the album,
"More a Legend Than a Band," for the first time on CD.

During the intervening years since the first album came out, Joe Ely,
Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock established solo careers of their
own, but often collaborated on each other’s albums as songwriters and
musicians. After "More a Legend Than a Band" was released in the States,
the three friends came together as The Flatlanders for two special
recordings, contributing a track on The Horse Whisperer soundtrack in
1998, (which marked the first time all three had written and performed
together on disc) and a song for the 2001 Grammy-nominated album, "Poet:
A Tribute to Townes Van Zant."

Because of the response to these performances, as well as a general
clamor from fans to see The Flatlanders back on the road, the group
began touring again, starting in 2000. Since then, several tours of the
U.S. have resulted in sell-out shows, an appearance on The Late Show
with David Letterman and energized talk of a new Flatlanders album.

The New West Records debut was recorded primarily at Joe Ely’s Spur
Studio in Austin, with one track recorded at Pedernales Studio. Ely,
Gilmore and Hancock co-wrote all of the songs with the exception of
"She’s Gone Away," written by Utah Phillips. All the main principals of
the first album are back on the new CD, including Steve Wesson on saw
and Tony Pearson on mandolin/vocals. Additional players include
guitarist Rob Gjersoe, bassist Gary Herman and drummer Rafael O’Malley
Gayol (all in the touring band), plus Lloyd Maines on steel, Mitch
Watkins on guitar and Chris Searls on drums.

"We couldn’t be prouder than to have The Flatlanders on New West Records,
and we’re very excited about the new album," said New West Records' Cameron Strang. "In my book, they are three of the greatest
Texas songwriters – all in one band."

The Flatlanders are managed by Mark Hartley of The Fitzgerald Hartley
Company and booked by Gary Buck of Monterey Peninsula Artists.

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