Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fiction Family Hits No. 5 on iTunes' Top Albums Overall

Well friends, the reception for Fiction Family's new record is probably even greater than previously imagined. It's hit No. 5 on iTunes' Top Albums overall. Early yesterday, sales were a bit sluggish, as the album was stuck at No. 26 until later in the afternoon, when it shot up to No. 9.

As of right now, 2:51 AM PST on January 21, it is sitting at No. 5. Awesome work promoting so far, guys! Let's keep this up and spread the word even more!


Well, theRemarkableBarefootGhost from the official Switchfoot message boards posted an amazing bootleg of the entire Fiction Family show in Grand Rapids on the 14th. Here's the setlist:

1. War in My Blood
2. When She's Near
3. Closer Than You Think
4. Betrayal
5. Not Sure
6. Somebody More Like You (Sean Watkins Solo)
7. Unknown, nicknamed A Friend You Never Call (Sean Watkins Solo)
8. For The Sender (Sean Watkins)
9. Mostly Prove Me Wrong
10. Elements Combined
11. Learning How to Die (Jon Foreman Solo)
12. Somebody's Baby (Jon Foreman Solo)
13. Your Love is Strong (Jon Foreman Solo)
14. Keep the Car Running (Arcade Fire Cover)
15. Look For Me Baby
16. The Man in Me (Bob Dylan Cover)
17. We Ride

And he recorded it all! Check it out now, and you can even download the mp3's to your computer!

Board Post


Now, here's an incredible article about Fiction Family from Relevant Magazine. These guys keep on churning out great articles. Here it is, reproduced in its entirety below:

Relevant Magazine: Music Reviews - Fiction Family

In a scene dominated by the gentle, hypersensitive sounds of Sufjan Stevens, The Welcome Wagon and Fleet Foxes, Jon Foreman and Sean Watkins finally inject some manliness back into the acoustic guitar. Fiction Family, the culmination of two of our generation’s most prolific and respected songwriters, debuts as a masterful collection of tales about murder, adventure, lost love, and war that highlight each contributor’s strengths and personalities while managing to defy perceived expectations.

There’s a beautiful carelessness to this project - a work birthed out of rest, friendship, and unabashed innovation. With no immediate deadlines, rules, or formats to follow, Foreman and Watkins embark on a musical journey of the purist, most unadulterated kind. The album keeps one foot in the folk door (a familiar home for both artists) while audaciously messing with everything from techno beats to ’60s pop choirs to fisher price instruments. While the acoustic guitar remains fixed in the foreground, a symphonic cast of unlikely characters join the conversation. Chamber stings, tympanis, accordions and electric fuzz tones somehow manage to play nicely together. A few of the most arresting tracks replace traditional bass lines with resonate piano timbres, dark pounding drones that duel eloquently against intricate finger-picking patterns.

There’s an idea that the farther one departs from the traditional pop format, the less tangible their work becomes to the average listener. Not so with Fiction Family. Wildly inventive and spontaneous (track two entitled “Out of Order” sounds exactly how it reads) the work stands in victorious defiance against a crumbling conventional music industry. Hooks and phrases linger long after their first introduction, and are sure to induce an involuntary foot-tapping episode or two.

It’s the stories, however, that give the project a sense of timelessness. In the spirit of his Season EPs, Foreman channels cultural staples like Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, even various Motown voices, conveying raw acoustic narratives like “Betrayal” and “War in My Blood” that read straight out of a great American novel. Watkins attaches his expertise for the hauntingly sorrowful love song that, in his case, always seems to relay more familiar truth than angsty longing. “Elements Combined” sketches the complexities of a woman, an intoxicating mixture of “earth, air, fire, and wine.”

But it’s not all love and war for the Family. Both Watkins and Foreman wrestle with the spiritual complexities of human nature. On “Closer Than You Think” the two critique the widely held notion of heaven as a distant and out of reach destination and suggest it may be “right under your feet.” In traditional Foreman lyrical style, “Prove Me Wrong” is laden with tender screams for affirmation and acceptance as it contemplates every man’s darkest struggles and fears through a solitary voice.

Those who have eased into a level of comfortable enjoyment of Jon Foreman’s solo projects and Watkins’ bluegrass repertoire may be caught off guard by the duo’s progressive departure from the predictable. Those looking for Switchfoot meets Nickel Creek will be disappointed. This is truly a profound exploration deep into the creative wells of two tremendously inventive and forward-thinking songwriters. Fiction Family is genius. It’s progressive without being high-brow, laid-back but fearless.

Listen to the entire Fiction Family album on The Drop.


CJ Casciotta is an artist, writer, and cultural commentator with a passion for raising a new generation of innovative artists and forward thinkers. he writes music reviews and features for RELEVANT, blogs at, and manages the independant artist platform, Undiscovered.


Here's some other press articles about Fiction Family, most of them positive. We'll start with the not so positive.

The News Star (2.5/5)

The duo, San Diego neighbors and casual pals since high school, began collaborating a few years ago after their respective bands shared a bill with R.E.M. and Wilco. Some of their writing took place in a coffee shop, and that relaxed mood proves deadly for much of “Fiction Family’s” midtempo acoustics.

Foreman and Watkins trade lead vocals and juggle a multitude of instruments, including mandolin, ukulele and steel guitar, but those stabs at variety fail to resuscitate colorless, unmemorable tunes.

CCM Magazine

“You have those conversations with musicians where everyone is buddy-buddy, and you say, 'Oh yeah, we should write together.' But rarely does that ever happen,” explains Foreman. “It's like signing a yearbook where you tell someone to call you over the summer, but nobody ever calls. It's that known thing that you're not supposed to call. But somehow we saw each other again and again, and he ended up giving me the instrumental version of 'Betrayal.' He said, 'Hey, I've got this song and don't have any lyrics for it.' So I wrote some lyrics and a bridge and sent it back, and that was the beginning of it. So it was pretty natural making a record without trying to make a record, which is my favorite way to make music.”

New York Daily News

Celebrate the release of Fiction Family's self-titled debut album at the Bowery Ballroom tonight! You may recognize the members of this musical duo as Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek. In their first collaboration, though, these musical pros are forging their own unique sound. 8 p.m.; $18. 6 Delancey St. between Chrystie St. and Bowery. (212-523-2111).


A self-imposed low budget helped the project, Mr. Foreman said. "It allowed us the ability to fail. We worked under the auspices that we were making music to make music. Your limitations are your strengths. When you find the limitations, you work around them."

"It doesn't take a huge amount of money," Sean Watkins told me when we met late last year near Griffith Park in Los Angeles. "Technology has made it easy to make music -- which is why there's so much bad music. It's more about being smart and creative."


If the musical menagerie of "Fiction Family" doesn't adhere to a fan's impression of either Nickel Creek or Switchfoot, neither musician seems concerned. "We have so many people in our fan base who are up for anything," Mr. Watkins said.

"You can mix in all the colors you want on an album," Mr. Foreman told me. "Everybody has all their songs in alphabetical order on their iPod anyway. All the boundaries formed by commerce are now gone."

Silent Soundwaves

You’ll know before the end of your very first listen that Fiction Family is a brilliant and fulfilling piece of acoustic art that catches you off guard, thanks to its humble appearance and serendipitous intentions. It’s a combination of writers like this that put The Beatles and The Eagles on the map. Fiction Family is not only on the map, but is a gratifying point of interest for any music lover. If I could give it 5 and 1/2 waves, I would, because it’s really that close to perfection. A must-have, period.

CIAO. =)

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