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Punch Brothers

Europe / International

Punch Brothers comprises guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjo player Noam Pikelny, singer/mandolinist Chris Thile, and fiddler Gabe Witcher. The Boston Globe recently said of the band, ‘Their uncanny ability to play with dynamics – not just contrasting quiet and loud but effortlessly shifting from one to the other-speaks to their ability to breathe together as a group. To call the Punch Brothers a well-oiled machine would imply that there is a drop of oil to be seen, when in fact they are staggeringly tight and clean.’

All Ashore, Punch Brothers’ Grammy Award nominated fifth album and the first to be self-produced by the quintet, is both ambitious and easygoing, a lot like the ‘ridiculously eclectic’ combo, as London’s Guardian once called the band. The work has the feel of a nine-song suite, one that invites you to unravel the threads of its connected themes and stories over repeated listening. Each track segues seamlessly, even a little sneakily, into the next. Before you know it, ‘The Angel of Doubt,’ a dark-night-of-the-soul drama featuring a vocal from singer-mandolinist Chris Thile, has glided into ‘Three Dots and a Dash,’ an instrumental that veers from ruminative to rave up, named in tribute to a classic Tiki cocktail, Thile’s latest recreational obsession.

Thile calls All Ashore ‘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.’ In a more pronounced way than on prior discs, All Ashore comes across as a glimpse into Punch Brothers’ current real life, as these artists who have spent more than a dozen years playing together grapple with marriage, family, and their ever-accelerating individual careers as producers, composers, arrangers, and front men. ‘This record is a distillation of the things that only we can do,’ adds Witcher. ‘We wanted to focus on the things that make us unique, and I think we did. And we have a more cohesive and successful record. We’ve been around for twelve years now; we know who we are.’