They’ve been dubbed one of the leading bands of the Newgrass movement and, despite heavy influence from bluegrass superstar Alison Krauss (who, incidentally, produced their first album), the band has definitely carved its own niche in the genre scene.

Now, when they play in San Diego, it’s at House of Blues – where they will be for two nights in December.

Nickel Creek – comprising guitarist Sean Watkins, fiddler Sara Watkins (his younger sister), and mandolin/banjo/bouzouki player Chris Thile – embark on a 57-gig tour August 4th in nearby Solana Beach at the Belly Up Tavern.

The caravan will take them cross country and back, hitting clubs, performing arts centers, theatres and even a record store and Borders Books & Music or two before winding down December 17th at the venerable Wiltern theatre in Los Angeles.

In between, they’ll hit cities including Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, Baltimore, Atlanta, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, Denver, Seattle and San Francisco. In between, they’ll hit a whole slew of secondary and tertiary markets as well.

Though the band has a firm grasp on tradition, the members incorporate many contemporary influences. Besides adding Celtic, jazz and country flavors to the mix, Nickel Creek cites pop-rock influences including Toad The Wet Sprocket, Elliott Smith, and Counting Crows.

“The really amazing thing is that people are getting turned on to something that’s totally different and it’s just a real blessing to be a part of maybe opening people’s ears to something out of their comfort zone,” Sara Watkins told Pollstar back when the band was starting out.

Nickel Creek is out in support of its third release, Why Should the Fire Die?, which hits store shelves August 9.