|Origin||Brooklyn, New York, New York, United States|
|Genres||Progressive bluegrass, classical music, acoustic music|
|Members|| Chris Thile |
|Past members|| Bryan Sutton |
Punch Brothers is an American band consisting of Chris Thile (mandolin), Gabe Witcher (fiddle/violin), Noam Pikelny (banjo), Chris Eldridge (guitar), and Paul Kowert (bass). Their style has been described as "bluegrass instrumentation and spontaneity in the structures of modern classical"as well as "American country-classical chamber music".
The band's most recent album, 2018's All Ashore was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album at the 61st Grammy Awards on February 10, 2019.
Thile formed the band in 2006 to record the album How to Grow a Woman from the Ground . In an interview with the Nashville City Paper, Thile described the formation of the band:
We got together one night just to drop a ton of money, drink too much wine, eat steaks, and commiserate about our failed relationships. We had gotten to play together a few days before and we had said that we needed to do something musical together. With our hearts smashed to pieces, it became more urgent — our lives had gone the same way for so long. I knew I wanted to have a band with Gabe [Witcher], but I didn’t know if it would be a rock ensemble, an ambitious acoustic classical thing or a bluegrass group. We played, and there was a serious, instantaneous connection. Then I knew I wanted to put together a bluegrass band — one with a lot of range, but aesthetically a bluegrass band.
The band was initially known as The How to Grow a Band. In 2007, they officially changed their name, first to The Tensions Mountain Boys, before settling on Punch Brothers. The band's name comes from the critical line of an earworm jingle that is the centerpiece of Mark Twain's short story "A Literary Nightmare".The chorus of the jingle consists of two lines, "Punch, brothers! punch with care! Punch in the presence of the passenjare," which are said to be the mantra of railroad conductors.
What they formed was a type of group that American Songwriter magazine calls "A 21st century version of the Bluegrass Boys."
On March 17, 2007, this group debuted Chris Thile's most ambitious work to date[ citation needed ] at Carnegie Hall: "The Blind Leaving the Blind", a forty-minute suite in four movements. Thile says the piece was written in part to deal with his divorce of 2003.
On February 13, 2008, the band set off on their first national tour as Punch Brothers. On February 26, they released Punch , their first album, on Nonesuch Records. The album features Thile's suite "The Blind Leaving the Blind", as well as other original songs.
In March 2008, when asked about a follow-up album, Thile said "there will definitely be another album."On November 8, 2008, the band announced on their website that they had parted ways with bass player Greg Garrison. Paul Kowert, who studied under Edgar Meyer at the Curtis Institute of Music, took Garrison's place as bass player.
Antifogmatic , Punch Brothers' second album, was released on June 15, 2010 and features both traditional bluegrass and newgrass styles on the ten-track listing. Though bassist Kowert had toured extensively with the band in support of Punch over the preceding two years, Antifogmatic is the first Punch Brothers album on which he appears.
The band is also the focus of the documentary How to Grow a Band , directed by Mark Meatto. It was filmed over a two-year period and, according to its website, "explores the tensions between individual talents and group identity, art and commerce, youth and wisdom". The film premiered at the 42nd Nashville Film Festival in Nashville, Tennessee on April 15, 2011. The film also screened as part of the 38th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival in June 2011.
The band released its third album, Who's Feeling Young Now? , in February 2012. Shortly afterwards, they contributed the song 'Dark Days' to the soundtrack for 2012 blockbuster The Hunger Games . In November 2012 they released Ahoy!, the 5-track EP companion to Who's Feeling Young Now? The EP consists of five songs that were not featured on the full-length release.
In November 2014, the band released the first single, entitled "I Blew It Off," from their then-untitled fourth album. In December 2014, the band announced that the new album, The Phosphorescent Blues , would be released on January 27, 2015, along with the immediate release of another new single, "Julep".Julep was nominated for Best American Roots Song at the 2016 Grammy Awards. The album reached the top 10 on the rock, folk, and bluegrass charts. On November 20, 2015, Punch Brothers released a 5-track EP, The Wireless.
On July 20, 2018, All Ashore was released as the band's fifth album. The album was self-produced and released on the Nonesuch Records label.According to Thile, the album is "a meditation on committed relationships in the present day, particularly in light of the current unsettled political climate—certainly the most unsettled one that anyone in the band has ever experienced. We were hoping we could create a thing that would be convincing as a complete thought, sort of a nine-movement or a nine-song thought, even though it's rangy in terms of what it's talking about and in the characters doing the talking."
All Ashore was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album at the 61st Grammy Awards on February 10, 2019.
|Title||Release date||Label||Peak chart positions|
|US Grass||US||US Heat||US Rock||US Folk|
|Punch||February 26, 2008||Nonesuch Records||1||—||10||—||—|
|Antifogmatic||June 15, 2010||Nonesuch Records||2||128||1||39||2|
|Who's Feeling Young Now?||February 14, 2012||Nonesuch Records||1||76||—||19||5|
|Ahoy! EP||November 13, 2012||Nonesuch Records||1||144||—||42||7|
|The Phosphorescent Blues||January 27, 2015||Nonesuch Records||1||37||—||9||4|
|The Wireless EP||November 20, 2015||Nonesuch Records||1||—||—||34||9|
|All Ashore||July 20, 2018||Nonesuch Records||1||—||—||48||8|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|2013||"Movement and Location"||Danny Clinch|
|2018||"It's All Part of the Plan"||Alex Chaloff|
Edgar Meyer is an American bassist and composer. His styles include classical, bluegrass, newgrass, and jazz. He has won five Grammy Awards and been nominated seven times.
Nickel Creek is an American Americana music group consisting of Chris Thile (mandolin), and siblings Sara Watkins (fiddle) and Sean Watkins (guitar). Formed in 1989 in Southern California, they released six albums between 1993 and 2006. The band broke out in 2000 with a platinum-selling self-titled album produced by Alison Krauss, earning a number of Grammy and CMA nominations.
Christopher Scott Thile is an American mandolinist, singer, songwriter, composer, and radio personality, best known for his work in the progressive acoustic trio Nickel Creek and the acoustic folk and progressive bluegrass quintet Punch Brothers. He is a 2012 MacArthur Fellow. In October 2016, he became the host of the radio variety show A Prairie Home Companion, which in December 2017 was renamed Live from Here.
How to Grow a Woman from the Ground is a 2006 album by Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers. It was released on Sugar Hill on September 12, 2006. The album is named after a song on the album; a cover of the original by folk singer Tom Brosseau.
Bryan Sutton is an American musician. Primarily known as a flatpicking acoustic guitar player, Sutton also plays mandolin, banjo, ukulele, and electric guitar. He also sings and writes songs.
Stuart Duncan is an American bluegrass musician who plays the fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and banjo.
Noam Pikelny is an American banjoist. He is a member of the group Punch Brothers and was previously in Leftover Salmon as well as the John Cowan Band.
Gabriel "Gabe" Witcher is a Grammy award winning American multi-instrumentalist, producer, composer, and arranger, best known as a fiddle player and singer. He is a founding member of the string ensemble Punch Brothers. Witcher and his fellow Punch Brothers won the 2019 Grammy for Best Folk Album and were named Affiliate Scholars of Oberlin Conservatory in 2014.
The Infamous Stringdusters are a progressive acoustic/bluegrass band. The band first emerged in 2006 with the limited release of a five-song extended play CD The Infamous Stringdusters, followed in 2007 by their first album Fork in the Road. Both of these were on Sugar Hill Records. The band consists of Andy Hall (Dobro), Andy Falco (guitar), Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), and Travis Book. The band has become known for a complex, distinctive, and groove-friendly sound along with a bluegrass theme.
Punch is the debut album by Punch Brothers. It was released by Nonesuch Records on February 26, 2008.
Chris Eldridge is an American guitarist and singer. He is a member of Punch Brothers and frequently performs in a duo with fellow guitarist Julian Lage. He is also the guitarist in the house band on Live From Here. He was a founding member of the bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters. His father is noted banjoist Ben Eldridge of the Seldom Scene.
Paul Kowert is a contemporary double bassist. His styles include classical, bluegrass, and progressive bluegrass. He is a member of the band Punch Brothers.
Antifogmatic is the second album by Punch Brothers. The album was released June 15, 2010.
Who's Feeling Young Now? is the third album by Punch Brothers. The album was released February 14, 2012. It has been described as "remarkably close to the indie-rock sounds of today" for a bluegrass album. The album is considered more accessible than the band's previous work, based on a decision not to over-complicate the music: "instead of adding parts, you’re reinforcing existing parts."
The Phosphorescent Blues is the fourth studio album by the American group Punch Brothers, released on January 27, 2015. The band announced the release of the album's first single, "I Blew It Off", on November 17, 2014, On December 4, 2014, the group announced the album's name and release date, along with the second single, "Julep". Julep was nominated for Best American Roots Song at the 2016 Grammy Awards. The album's cover is from the René Magritte painting "The Lovers" (1928).
How To Grow A Band is a 2011 music documentary film about the early days of American progressive bluegrass band Punch Brothers. The film stars Chris Thile, Gabe Witcher, Noam Pikelny, Chris Eldridge, Paul Kowert and Greg Garrison and features interviews with a number of notable musicians including Yo-Yo Ma, John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Jerry Douglas, bassist Edgar Meyer and Sara Watkins. The film's structure tracks mandolinist Chris Thile's ambitious four movement suite, "The Blind Leaving the Blind" as it follows the band on their first tour as Punch Brothers in the United Kingdom and United States in early 2008 leading up to a triumphant performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Allen Room in New York.
Live from Here, formerly known as A Prairie Home Companion with Chris Thile, is an American variety radio show known for its musical guests, especially folk and traditional musicians, tongue-in-cheek radio drama, and relaxed humor. Hosted by Chris Thile, it aired live on Saturday evenings. The show's home was at the Town Hall in New York City, though initially it was at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota. The show debuted in its new home in the 2019–2020 season at The Town Hall, with its broadcast on September 7, 2019.
Song Up in Her Head is the first studio album by American folk and bluegrass singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz, released on June 19, 2009 on Sugar Hill Records. It was recorded and mixed at Minutia Studios and The Mastering Lab, respectively, in Nashville, TN, by Gary Paczosa with additional engineering by Brandon Bell, John Netti, Keith Gary, Mike Judeh and Chris Dye. The song "Mansinneedof" was nominated for Best Country Instrumental Performance at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.
Follow Me Down is the second studio album by American folk and bluegrass singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz, released on May 17, 2011 on Sugar Hill Records. It was recorded and mixed at Minutia Studios and mastered at The Mastering Lab in Nashville, TN, by Gary Paczosa with additional engineering by Brandon Bell. In 2012, the song "Come Around" was nominated for Song of the Year at the Americana Music Honors & Awards.
All Ashore is the fifth studio album by the American group Punch Brothers, released on July 20, 2018. The band announced the release of the album's first singles "It's All Part of the Plan" and the instrumental "Three Dots and a Dash" on June 14, 2018. The album was self-produced by the band and was released on the Nonesuch Records label. The nine songs were written and recorded in the sequence of the tracklist at the United Sound studio in Los Angeles, California. The album received generally favorable reviews from critics.