Nickel Creek acoustic guitarist Sean Watkins’ splendid solo debut, Let It Fall, is a collection of original instrumentals that would fit nicely on the soundtrack for a romantic comedy about Emily, a young archer, and Mason, a graphic designer working on foolproof ballots for the 2004 presidential election. As the film opens, Mason drives past the archery range where Emily practices, and “Neo’s Song” is blasting from his radio. The bouncy tune’s intertwining guitar, fiddle and mandolin (courtesy of Nickel Creek’s Chris Thile) indicate that Cupid will soon strike.
The obligatory running-hand-in-hand-on-the-beach scene would be accompanied by “The Ant And The Ant”, its intricate melody lines (courtesy Jerry Douglas’ dobro and Stuart Duncan’s fiddle) connoting pure joy. “The Orange Autumn Days” is a yearning melody perfect for the tender consummation scene.
Later, the poignant, delicate “January Second” plays while Mason sneaks away from a sleeping Emily so he can go make the black arrows easier to see on the new butterfly ballot. Since this a Hollywood film, it proceeds with several unbelievable plot devices (a winter hurricane, a telepathic poodle, Emily shooting an arrow through a tiny hole in her ballot in order to decide the election). Watkins’ version of the traditional “Over The Waterfall” plays over the closing credits.
The three mundane cuts on Watkins’ disc (“Cloudbreak”, “The Birth” and “Nostalgic”) would doubtless be omitted from the soundtrack and replaced with tunes by Alison Brown, Johnny Staats and Doc Watkins. Like Let It Fall, this film would not be indispensable, but it would be a rich and pleasant effort.