About the Event
The Washington Post says the Grammy®-winning Punch Brothers “take bluegrass to its next evolutionary stage, drawing equal inspiration from the brain and the heart.” The quintet includes mandolinist Chris Thile, guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjoist Noam Pikelny, and violinist Gabe Witcher.
Their fifth album, All Ashore, is both ambitious and easygoing. 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 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.
For All Ashore, instead of recording a stack of tunes out of which they would assemble an album, Witcher explains: “We decided we would write and record this album in sequence. In doing so we were really able to construct the narrative, musically and lyrically, throughout the whole process. That was a new way of doing things for us that helped the cohesiveness and narrative.”
When Punch Brothers released its last album, Phosphorescent Blues, in 2015, Rolling Stone noted: “The genius of Thile and bandmates guitar player Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjo player Noam Pikelny, and fiddler Gabe Witcher is the artistry with which they mix bluegrass, roots, rock, pop, jazz, and classical to create a unique, contemporary sound.” All Ashore also has an appealingly relaxed virtuosity to it, self-assured but never showy.