Works Progress Administration (WPA) consists of some of the most accomplished and legendary musicians in today’s American music scene. Founding members Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket), Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek), and Luke Bulla (Jerry Douglas Band, Ricky Skaggs, Lyle Lovett) have teamed up with Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), Greg Leisz (Joni Mitchell, Bill Frisell), Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Randy Newman), and Davey Faragher (Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Cracker), and long-time acclaimed producer Jim Scott (Wilco, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Rolling Stones). Once they entered Scott’s studio, the group was able to collaborate and record 17 songs live in only five days.
In an era where the expectation of a “supergroup” is something conceived by business executives, this band came out of an authentic and vibrant musical community, and the result is a beautiful reflection of its origins. WPA was born out of the musical community surrounding the legendary LA club, Largo. The eight members of the band had known and admired each other for years, and found themselves with a strong batch of unrecorded songs, a little down time, and a collective feeling that it might be a good idea to put something on tape.
The instant classic “Always Have My Love”, penned and sung by Glen Phillips, starts the album with a powerful dose of dual fiddles, pedal steel and piano, revealing the band’s palette from the first bar. The album continues with five more Phillips songs, plaintive and introspective tunes from Sean Watkins (“Not Sure”, “Paralyzed” and “You’re Already Gone”), commanding vocals performed by Luke Bulla on “Who’s Gonna Cry For You” and “Remember Well”, and the haunting voice of Sara Watkins on Benmont Tench’s “The Price” and the Ray Davies classic “I Go To Sleep”. Despite having four lead singers and a high level of instrumental prowess the band keeps its focus in service to the song, and creates a sound that is both timeless and unique.