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New Punch Brothers' Album: 'All Ashore'

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Thursday June 14, 2018

From Nonesuch

Punch Brothers’ First Self-Produced Album, “All Ashore,” Due July 20 on Nonesuch

Punch Brothers’ first self-produced album, All Ashore, is due on CD and digitally July 20, 2018, from Nonesuch Records, with the vinyl to come September 7. The record includes nine original songs written by the band. In celebration of its release, Punch Brothers play at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival on June 24 before embarking on a thirty-six-city US tour, kicking off on July 12 in Charleston, SC and continuing through September 17 at Red Rocks; additional stops include Nashville, Boston, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New Orleans (details below). All Ashore is available to pre-order now at iTunes, the Punch Brothers Store, and the Nonesuch Store, where the album tracks “It’s All Part of the Plan” and “Three Dots and a Dash” may be downloaded instantly; pre-orders from the Nonesuch Store also include an exclusive, limited-edition print signed by the band. A video for “It’s All Part of the Plan,” filmed by Alex Chaloff at Nashville’s Layman Drug Company, may be seen here. All Ashore will be available at Spotify and Apple Music.

All Ashore follows Punch Brothers’ critically acclaimed T Bone Burnett–produced 2015 release, The Phosphorescent Blues, of which NPR said, “Punch Brothers sing of distraction and isolation in the digital age … the sound is all their own.” For All Ashore, the quintet—guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjo player Noam Pikelny, mandolinist and lead singer Chris Thile, and fiddler Gabe Witcher—again attempt to make sense of the world around them.

As Thile says, the album is “a meditation on committed relationships in the present day, particularly in the present political climate.” He continues, “We were hoping to create something that would be convincing as a complete thought, in this case as a nine-movement, or nine-piece, thought. Though it’s rangy in what it’s talking about, and in the characters who are doing the talking…”

Punch Brothers returned to the same room at United Recording Studios in Hollywood (formerly Ocean Way) where they had recorded both The Phosphorescent Blues and their 2010 Jon Brion–produced Antifogmatic. Thile says they felt they had “established a rapport” with the space; the same “level of trust and love that breeds confidence” also led them to produce the album themselves, for the first time.

“After four previous experiences we felt like we knew what we wanted. Going in we knew what we needed it to sound like and I think we had a specific enough vision to make the reality match up with that—as opposed to having someone navigate us toward something,” Thile explains. “Also, T Bone last time around, with engineer Mike Piersante, led us to a sonic place where we knew we wanted to be again.”

Punch Brothers formed in 2006. Its first Nonesuch record, Punch, was released in 2008 and combined elements of the band’s many musical interests. In 2009, they began a residency at NYC’s intimate club The Living Room, trying out new songs and ultimately spawning Antifogmatic. In 2012, the band released Who’s Feeling Young Now?, which Q praised for its “astonishing, envelope-pushing vision,” while Rolling Stone said, “The acoustic framework dazzles—wild virtuosity used for more than just virtuosity.” Its follow-up, The Phosphorescent Blues, was called “a typical genre-busting melange of avant-roots music that fuses jazz instrumental chops and acoustic earthiness, Beach Boys harmonies and Debussy string dances, slinky acoustic rock songs and blues laments” by the Chicago Tribune and a mixture of “chamber-music intricacy, improvisational flash, lump-in-throat balladry, and a puckish Debussy cover; T Bone Burnett’s canny production simultaneously captures the band’s woodsy caress and enhances its emotional impact,” by the Boston Globe.

Recently, Chris Thile took over hosting duties of Live from Here (formerly A Prairie Home Companion) in 2016 and released Thanks for Listening in late 2017—a collection of songs written for his popular radio show. Chris Eldridge partnered with Julian Lage for Mount Royal and Noam Pikelny released his fourth solo album, Universal Favorite. Both Mount Royal and Universal Favorite earned Grammy nominations and were produced by Gabe Witcher, who was also behind Sara Watkins’ latest album, Young in All the Wrong Ways. Paul Kowert has been recording and touring with the Dave Rawlings Machine and recently released Unless, the debut album from Hawktail, Kowert’s band with Jordan Tice, Brittney Haas, and Dominick Leslie.

Read on Nonesuch here