Who’s Feeling Young Now by The Punch Brothers remains one of my favorite albums of the year. You can download the studio version of the album’s wonderous opening track, “Movement and Location,” as part of a live sampler below…
The Punch Brothers banjoist Noam Pikelny has released his debut solo album, Beat The Devil and Carry a Rail. Highlights include the guest vocals by Crooked Still’s Aoifé O’Donovan on the haunting Tom Waits ballad “Fish and Bird” and the frenetic instrumental “Cluck Old Hen,” which features comedian turned banjo player Steve Martin. You can download a free, legal mp3 of the song “Jim Thompson’s Horse” by entering your email address below.
The Punch Brothers have transcended the Bluegrass genre and enter Radiohead territory on their latest album, Who’s Feeling Young Now? The instrumentation on the opening track “Movement and Location” is truly astounding, reminding me of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name.” The album’s title track has an almost hip-hop beat. Chris Thile provides lead vocals, but fiddle player Gabe Witcher also steps up to mic. Witcher sings lead vocals on “Hundred Dollars,” which is one of two tracks on the album Thile wrote with Josh Ritter.
My interest in bluegrass being whetted by Doyle Lawson, I finally got around to listening to Dierks Bentley’s only Bluegrass outing. Up on the Ridge is the album from which “Senor” (featured on the Bob Dylan tribute album, Chimes of Freedom) was taken. The album’s title track was another pleasant surprise, with a guest appearance by Allison Krauss and The Sidemen. There’s an amazing cover of U2’s “(Pride) In The Name of Love” which benefits from the presence of bluegrass legend Del McCoury and The Punch Brothers, who also guest on several other tracks. Other guests on the album include The Steeldrivers‘s Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, Vince Gill and Kris Kristofferson. The final song, “Down in the Mine,” is a sublime Appalachian anthem co-written by Bentley, capping off a remarkable achievement. You can hear samples from the album here.