Take Up Your Spade

Album: Sun Midnight Sun (2012)
  • songfacts ®
  • A track from Nickel Creek fiddle player Sara Watkins' second solo album, this song was inspired by gardening. "I've always loved farming and gardening analogies to life," she said in her Songfacts interview. "I used to work with my Grandma in her garden and there'd be these berry bushes and weeding things and everything had an analogy to life: keeping your garden clean, keeping the weeds out of your life, all of these things that I keep remembering every time I am out in my yard."
  • Watkins started writing this song in 2010 when she was performing as part of Transatlantic Sessions, a series of concerts broadcast by the BBC and RTE networks. She found these shows wonderfully congregational, and she envisioned a group of people singing on this track when started composing it.
  • Jackson Browne and Fiona Apple sing harmony vocals on this track and make appearances in the video, which features footage from the recording sessions at Zeitgeist Studio in Los Angeles, including shots of Watkins and her producer Blake Mills goofing around playing basketball.

    Watkins has performed with Browne and Apple at the Watkins Family Hour shows she does with her brother Sean at the Largo theater in Los Angeles. Sara has also toured with Browne, and Apple appears on another track from the album, "You're the One I Love."
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