- Audio CD (February 26, 2008)
- Label: Nonesuch
- ASIN: B005FR5EHC
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,171,498 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
|Listen Now with Amazon Music|
|Amazon Music Unlimited|
|New from||Used from|
|Audio CD, February 26, 2008||
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
The Punch Brothers are the most prodigious musicians from the cutting edge of bluegrass and folk music. The quintet was brought together by former Nickel Creek star Chris Thile who is a virtuosic mandolin player. Guitarist Chris Eldridge is a member of The Infamous Stringdusters plus occasional guest star with his dad, Ben, and his legendary combo, The Seldom Scene. Bassist Greg Garrison has recorded with John Scofield and Vasser Clements, among many others, and he regularly sits in with Leftover Salmon. Fiddle player Gabe Witcher is a first-call studio player with a big sound and immaculate intonation and he has been featured on the Oscar-winning soundtracks of Babel and Brokeback Mountain, amongst countless other films. Banjo player Noam Pikelny is an alumnus of Leftover Salmon and the John Cowan Band.
Top customer reviews
"Punch" is the second album from the newly renamed "Punch Brothers," their first being "How To Grow a Woman From the Ground." It's unclassifiable music, which clearly springs from bluegrass but with influences too numerous to count. It mixes the idioms and instruments of bluegrass with the complex harmonies of contemporary classical and jazz. I guarantee you've never heard anything like it. It makes Bela Fleck sound tame and traditional. Chris Thile, the frontman for the group has been called "the most virtuosic American ever to play the mandolin," and the other members of the group receive less effusive praise only because their instruments are more common. Here they are put to good use playing things that have never before been played on these instruments.
The meat of the album is contained in a bewildering, four movement, forty minute piece entitled "The Blind Leaving the Blind." Despite the length and the stretches of dissonance, it's never inaccessible for long; the lyrics and melodies stay rooted in telling the emotional story of Chris's recent divorce. Every so often they break into an old-fashioned bluegrass jam, but then change keys in a few measures to remind you what you are listening to. On my first pass through it was exhausting to listen to, and it was a stretch for the band as well.
"For me, when I first received the score and saw what Chris was asking me to play on my instrument, that had to have been just as traumatic as him getting his divorce papers," Pikelny says. "He figured, 'Hey, if you have the notes there, you'll figure out a way to play it.'"
Chris Thile's voice, though adequate, doesn't match the quality of the playing and composition, and the album suffers from what I call "Great Album Syndrome." (Every truly great album must have one unbearable song, i.e. "The Crunge" or "Fitter Happier." On this album it's the first track, "Punch Bowl.") However, if hearing a banjo in a song doesn't immediately turn you off, (I understand that excludes a fair number of people) then give this a listen.