Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, Friday, November 30, 2012
Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile
The Milk Carton Kids open the show
Friday, November 30, 2012
At the Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz
Mandolinist and singer Chris Thile awarded MacArthur “Genius” Grant
“[a] radical string band” – The New Yorker
Punch Brothers are the New York City-based quintet of mandolinist Chris Thile, guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjoist Noam Pikelny and violinist Gabe Witcher. Their new album Who’s Feeling Young Now, produced and engineered by Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Norah Jones), contains some of the most exhilaratingly direct and sonically daring performances the group has ever recorded. Vanity Fair has hailed the album as “their most expressive work yet as an ensemble — sophisticated, pop-y, kinetic and profound, all at once.” The New Yorker calls it “a mystical alchemy of old-time music and contemporary sensibilities” As the five members, ranging in age from their mid-20’s to mid-30’s, have matured together on the road and in the studio, their approach to writing and performing has become looser, simpler, and, in a sense, more unaffectedly youthful.
The group evolved out of a 2007 collaboration on Thile’s string-band suite, The Blind Leading the Blind, which premiered at Carnegie Hall. Its debut disc for Nonesuch Records, Punch, was released in 2008, followed by the Jon Brion produced Antifogmatic (2010). The five members each have impressive resumes within the progressive string-band scene and are regularly sought-after as guest stars and session players. Punch Brothers are also currently featured on the soundtrack to The Hunger Games and the Chieftains’ 50th Anniversary disc, Voice Of Ages. As guitarist Chris Eldridge notes, “Every little side project we’ve done has helped us come back to Punch Brothers with new ideas and new energy and a new sense of confidence, a righteous need to create stuff.”
The title of the third Punch Brothers disc for Nonesuch, borrowed from one of their new songs, is more an exhortation than a taunt. Who’s Feeling Young Now?, marks a new sonic chapter and a fresh, fully-realized band dynamic. Kowert, who joined the group just before Antifogmatic, concurs: “We hit our stride a little more on Who’s Feeling Young Now?, finding our places and our parts a little faster. We were basically playing better as an ensemble. Part of that has to do with the writing we did beforehand, part of that is just performing together longer, being on the road for a longer time.”
The band’s founding member—mandolin virtuoso, singer, and composer Chris Thile—recently was named a MacArthur Fellow. The annual fellowship, often referred to as the “Genius” grant, offers an unrestricted award of $500,000 ($100,000 for each of the following five years) to individuals who, in the Foundation’s words, “have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” The band was also recently nominated for 2012 Group of the Year by the Americana Music Association and Instrumental Group of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Awards.
Punch Brothers will be joined on this date by Los Angeles-based folk duo The Milk Carton Kids, who are described by The New York Times as, “A sweetly dazzling variation on close-harmony vocals, part Simon and Garfunkel and part Everly Brothers, with occasional acoustic prestidigitation.” This double bill presents the finest of a new era of progressive bluegrass music, with Punch Brothers leading the charge.
Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile
DATE: Friday, November 30, 2012
LOCATION: Rio Theatre
ADDRESS: 1205 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
TIME: 8:00 PM (Doors: 7:00 PM)
TICKETS: $25/General Admission
MORE INFO: http://www.kuumbwajazz.org or 831-427-2227