When Glen Phillips returned from his European adventure at the beginning of 2007, he celebrated by inviting a collection of friends to a special Sings Like Hell performance at the Lobero Theatre. Joining Phillips onstage were Grant-Lee Phillips, Sean and Sara Watkins from Nickel Creek, Benmont Tench, Greg Leisz, and Luke Bulla. Despite the caliber of the ensemble players, at the end of the night, the musician who raised the most eyebrows was Luke Bulla. So when the Phillipses and Watkins siblings decided to take the show on the road, Bulla’s inclusion was automatic.
The Nashville-based fiddle virtuoso first met the Nickel Creekers in Branson, Missouri, when the collective of “kid musicians” shared the billing at a music festival. Since then, he’s played with Ricky Skaggs, Kentucky Thunder, John Cowan, and Jerry Douglas, as well as being a frequent visitor to the Watkins Family Hour at Largo in Los Angeles.
“Man, that was a wonderful night,” beamed Bulla. “I played at the Lobero years ago with Ricky Skaggs, so I remember the venue well. : I was actually kind of jealous of the audience members who got to sit there and experience that night.”
The Phillipses and Watkins agreed, so they launched the Various and Sundry Tour, which will cover the West Coast for the month of June. And given that the collaborative seed was sown right here in Santa Barbara, it’s only fitting that SOhO will play host to the first concert, on Tuesday, June 5. The event promises the same magic that recently cast a spell over the Sings Like Hell audience, and the only apparent downside is that Bulla will be again stuck up there onstage rather than delighting in the experience with the rest of us.