The Phosphorescent Blues Punch Brothers
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- 3Passepied (Debussy)03:30
- 4I Blew It Off03:07
- 6My Oh My04:19
- 7Boll Weevil02:36
- 8Prélude (Scriabin)00:58
- 10Between 1st and A04:15
- 11Little Lights04:42
Info for The Phosphorescent Blues
After working with Burnett numerous times—most recently on the soundtrack for the Joel and Ethan Coen film Inside Llewyn Davis and the related Town Hall/Showtime concert Another Day, Another Time—Punch Brothers decided to join forces with the multiple Grammy Award–winning producer for their new record. Last summer, the band and Burnett spent a month at Hollywood’s Ocean Way Recording laying down the songs that guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjo player Noam Pikelny, mandolinist and lead singer Chris Thile, and fiddler Gabe Witcher had written during several writing “retreats” last winter and spring.
Thile explains one of the ways the music on The Phosphorescent Blues reflects the band’s view of modern life: “We often go to bars after shows or writing sessions, to be around other people for a little while. And I’d see people just like me on their phones, telling people they wish they were there, texting people who really are there. Then a song would come on that somebody likes and then they see that someone else does too and maybe they both sing it together and that moment is spiritual, some shared experience, and they are interacting in the flesh, with their fellow man. And that’s communion. Many of the songs on this record dive into that: how do we cultivate beautiful, three-dimensional experiences with our fellow man in this day and age?”
Shortly before the sessions began, Thile and Witcher met with Burnett and discovered the producer had the very same things on his mind. In fact, he’d just given a commencement address at the University of Southern California on the subject of technology and human interaction. Witcher remembers, “Thile and I looked at each and said, ‘This is unbelievable. It’s exactly what we are writing about.’ So this was a perfect, serendipitous union.”
Chris Thile, mandolin, vocals
Gabe Witcher, fiddle, vocals
Noam Pikelny, banjo, vocals
Chris Eldridge, guitar, vocals
Paul Kowert, bass, vocals
Produced by T Bone Burnett
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, contains some of the most exhilaratingly direct, sonically daring performances the group has ever recorded. Already, 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, conversely, become looser, simpler, and, in a sense, more unaffectedly youthful. In fact, the title song on the new disc—featuring rumbling bass, skittering violin, and wailing multi-tracked vocals—sounds like hard-charging string-band punk rock.
The group, as virtuosic as it is freewheeling, evolved out of a 2007 collaboration on Thile’s string-band suite, The Blind Leading the Blind, which premiered at Carnegie Hall in a series curated by composer John Adams. 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 currently featured on the soundtrack to The Hunger Games and the Chieftains’ 50th Anniversary disc, Voice Of Ages. As guitarist 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.”