Mark Schatz will take a six-month leave of absence from the Claire Lynch Band to play bass during the highly anticipated Nickel Creek reunion this spring and summer.
He’s already joined Chris Thile, Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins in the studio, laying down tracks for the first Nickel Creek album in nine years. Schatz played with Nickel Creek until the band went on hiatus six years ago, at which point he signed on with Lynch.
“It was like falling right back in,” Schatz said of getting back with his old band. “It was like it never stopped.”
Schatz’s leave runs from March 15 to Sept. 15, and he’s looking forward to playing the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the venerable 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., and some other big venues. “I’m excited,” he said Monday night between sets of a show with Lynch in the Washington suburbs. “It’s such a completely different animal.”
Tickets for the first Nickel Creek reunion shows go on sale this morning.
But when the tour ends, Schatz has every intention of rejoining the Claire Lynch Band. “It’s one of the best rhythm sections in the business,” he said of playing with Claire, Matt Wingate and Bryan McDowell. It’s a great lineup, both musically and personally.”
During the leave, Todd Phillips will fill the bass slot in the Claire Lynch Band. He starts in March with some dates in Nashville.
Lynch calls Phillips “a hoss.” But, she said after Monday’s show, it won’t be easy to see Schatz step off the stage.
“It’s a bummer,” she said. “It’s like breaking up.”
Schatz agreed that leaving will be difficult, even if it is for only six months. But he sees an upside, too.
“It’ll give me a little burst of energy to come back with Claire in the fall,” he said.