Nickel Creek Live at Newport

By: Brendan

Nickel Creek’s set at Newport this year is now streaming at NPR. The performance was primarily comprised of tracks, my favorite of which is “Destination,” from their new album, A Dotted Line. The band also played some old favorites, including “Reasons Why” and “The Fox.” Browsing the page further will lead you to concerts by Aoife O’Donovan and Anais Mitchell among others.

Punch Brothers: Punch

Yes, another band of “brothers”. But unlike the youthful troubadour style of The Avett Brothers or the delightfully bizarre Western circus sound of The Felice Brothers, the music of Punch Brothers is more often an unadulterated brand of bluegrass. The band is composed of Nickel Creek mandolin player Chris Thile, guitarist Chris Eldridge of The Infamous Stringdusters, Greg Garrison on bass, Noam Pikelny on banjo, and fiddler Gabe Witcher. All members contribute vocals, but Thile takes the lead. This album is not an exciting one, but it is a work of beauty if you appreciate Appalachian folk and bluegrass music.

The opener “Punch Bowl” begins as a backwoods haunt of eerie cacophonous instrumentation then slides into a calmer Appalachian string band sound.

“The Blind Leaving The Blind” is a bluegrass symphony of sorts, written by Chris Thile and divided into four lengthy movements. Initially it feels like a bit of a let down after the opening track, but on the second listen I could better appreciate the pretty placidity of the series. Thile’s voice is softly soothing, his lyrical narrations (inspired by the end of his marriage) are engrossing, and the arrangements exhibit the harmony between the five players while also accentuating the sounds of the individual instruments. The first two movements of the set are particularly lovely.

The finale “It’ll Happen” is quiet, delicate, and absolutely resplendent. I sincerely hope that nothing prevents me from attending The Punch Brothers’ upcoming performance at Mountain Stage.

I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples at the links below.

Punch Brothers Official Site

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