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Punch Brothers : code breakers


omeone once said, there’s nothing new in the world. That’s probably quite true when it comes to music. Until now! Introducing Punch Brothers, and in particular their latest album, WHO’S FEELING YOUNG NOW?—a ground-breaking sound that pushes the bluegrass envelope and boundaries further than ever before. The material is far more about a unit than any virtuoso showboating, though. It is brave, unique and pretty damn good to say the least.


But to catch this band live on stage is a different ballgame altogether. Just mind-numbingly brilliant, all of them, not just former


Nickel Creek star, Chris Thile. Saying that, he’s just got to be the very best mandolin players on the planet bar none, and I include Mr Skaggs in that audacious statement, with the greatest respect to him. In May they were here for a storming one-off London show at Scala, and a triumphant appearance on Later...With Jools Holland. They returned to these shores to perform at the Hard Rock Calling concert in Hyde Park, on the bill with Paul Simon who they recently toured with in the USA, joining him nightly for his encore. In November they have a seven date UK tour, calling at Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford, Edinburgh, Gateshead, London and Bristol. Make sure you grab a ticket, as I’ve a feeling we will be seeing the words: ‘Sold Out’ even before they get on that plane.


© Danny Clinch


into Punch Brothers when he recruited Eldridge, banjo player Noam Pikelny, and violinist Gabe Witcher to back him on a solo album, HOW TO GROW A WOMAN. Bassist, Paul Kowert joined the band three years later. They officially became Punch Brothers, releasing a debut album, PUNCH on Nonesuch in 2008. They released their sophomore


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album, ANTIFOGMATIC in 2010. Their latest CD was dropped earlier this year. The band was originally known as The How To Grow A Band. In 2007, they changed their name to The Tensions Mountain Boys and then finally to Punch Brothers. The name comes from a line in Mark Twain’s short story A Literary Nightmare (later re-published as Punch, Brother, Punch).


42 Maverick


o, who are Punch Brothers and what do they do? We have Chris Eldridge on guitar, Paul Kowert on bass, Noam Pikelny on banjo, Chris Thile on mandolin and lead vocals and Gabe Witcher on fiddle—all five of them on vocals, with Gabe taking the lead vocal on the hot new track, Hundred Dollars. In 2006, Chris Thile instigated the collaboration that evolved


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