Punch Brothers’ First Self-Produced Album, All Ashore, out Today Extensive US summer tour currently underway
July 20, 2018
“In these strange times, hope for the future isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to come by—but that might be why All Ashore is an album people could use right now. Punch Brothers have crafted a deeply meaningful and downright gorgeous record that takes the world for what it is, but doesn’t use that as an excuse to give up.”—Boston Globe
“(It) contains some of the most literary of Punch Brothers’ lyrics to date … All Ashore is a call to savor, to pay attention, to step back from the hustle and bustle and remember the importance of being calm.” —PopMatters
“The band’s twin drivers (are) the head and the heart; it is Punch Brothers’ ability to strike an endlessly fascinating conversation between the two that makes them among the greatest exponents of acoustic music around today.” —Irish Times
Punch Brothers’ first self-produced album, All Ashore, is out today—July 20, 2018—on Nonesuch. The record includes nine original songs written by the band (track list below). It has already received critical acclaim, with the Independent (UK) calling it “a record both open and expansive, while feeling understated and harbouring a quiet intelligence,” and Newsday saying it is “a lovely way to find beauty in chaos, a safe port in our increasingly tumultuous times.” NPR noted, “Paul Simon is retiring, but his sound lives on … very sharp and confident songwriting,” and the Financial Times praises “the sinuous way that the five musicians move between different styles of music (folk, country, rock, modern classical, jazz) … fellow travelers include Sufjan Stevens and Joanna Newsom.”
In celebration of the release, Punch Brothers are on a thirty-eight-city US tour that began at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in June and continues through September 17 at Red Rocks (details on next page); additional stops include Nashville, Boston, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New Orleans. The Herald Leader said of their recent show Louisville show, “A striking thing about Punch Brothers is there may not be a more charismatic frontman out there than Chris Thile … but then you step back and realize the whole band is amazing.”
Videos for album tracks “It’s All Part of the Plan” and “Three Dots and a Dash,” filmed by Alex Chaloff at Nashville’s Layman Drug Company, may be seen here. The band performed music from All Ashore on the public radio program Live from Here last month. Video of that performance be seen here. They also will appear on CBS This Morning Saturday’s Saturday Sessions on July 28.
All Ashore follows Punch Brothers’ T Bone Burnett–produced 2015 release, The Phosphorescent Blues, of which NPR said, “Punch Brothers sing of distraction and isolation in the digital age … the sound is all their own.” For All Ashore, the quintet—guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjo player Noam Pikelny, mandolinist and lead singer Chris Thile, and fiddler Gabe Witcher—again attempt to make sense of the world around them.
As Thile says, the album is “a meditation on committed relationships in the present day, particularly in the present political climate.” He continues, “We were hoping to create something that would be convincing as a complete thought, in
this case as a nine-movement, or nine-piece, thought. Though it’s rangy in what it’s talking about, and in the characters who are doing the talking…”
Punch Brothers returned to the same room at United Recording Studios in Hollywood (formerly Ocean Way) where they had recorded both The Phosphorescent Blues and their 2010 Jon Brion–produced Antifogmatic. Thile says they felt they had “established a rapport” with the space; the same “level of trust and love that breeds confidence” also led them to produce the album themselves, for the first time.
“After four previous experiences we felt like we knew what we wanted. Going in we knew what we needed it to sound like and I think we had a specific enough vision to make the reality match up with that— as opposed to having someone navigate us toward something,” Thile explains. “Also, T Bone last time around, with engineer Mike Piersante, led us to a sonic place where we knew we wanted to be again.”
Punch Brothers formed in 2006. Its first Nonesuch record, Punch, was released in 2008 and combined elements of the band’s many musical interests. In 2009, they began a residency at NYC’s intimate club The Living Room, trying out new songs and ultimately spawning Antifogmatic. In 2012, the band released Who’s Feeling Young Now?, which Q praised for its “astonishing, envelope-pushing vision,” while Rolling Stone said, “The acoustic framework dazzles—wild virtuosity used for more than just virtuosity.” Its follow-up, The Phosphorescent Blues, was called “a typical genre-busting melange of avant-roots music that fuses jazz instrumental chops and acoustic earthiness, Beach Boys harmonies and Debussy string dances, slinky acoustic rock songs and blues laments” by the Chicago Tribune and a mixture of “chamber-music intricacy, improvisational flash, lump-in-throat balladry, and a puckish Debussy cover; T Bone Burnett’s canny production simultaneously captures the band’s woodsy caress and enhances its emotional impact,” by the Boston Globe.
Recently, Chris Thile took over hosting duties of Live from Here (formerly A Prairie Home Companion) in 2016 and released Thanks for Listening in late 2017—a collection of songs written for his popular radio show. Chris Eldridge partnered with Julian Lage for Mount Royal and Noam Pikelny released his fourth solo album, Universal Favorite. Both Mount Royal and Universal Favorite earned Grammy nominations and were produced by Gabe Witcher, who was also behind Sara Watkins’ latest album, Young In All The Wrong Ways. Paul Kowert has been recording and touring with the Dave Rawlings Machine and recently released Unless, the debut album from Hawktail, Paul’s band with Jordan Tice, Brittney Haas, and Dominick Leslie.
- All Ashore
- The Angel of Doubt
- Three Dots and a Dash
- Just Look at This Mess
- The Gardener
- Jungle Bird
- It’s All Part of the Plan
- Like It’s Going Out of Style
Punch Brothers Tour
|Telluride Bluegrass Festival
|Pisgah Brewing Co.
|Black Mountain, NC
|Durham Performing Arts Center
|House of Blues
|Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
|New York, NY
|Center for the Arts
|Cleveland Heights, OH
|Royal Oak Music Theatre
|Royal Oak, MI
|St. Paul, MN
|Bing Crosby Theater
|Oregon Zoo Amphitheatre
|Woodland Park Zoo Amphitheater
|Rohnert Park, CA
|Theatre at Ace Hotel
|Los Angeles, CA
|Observatory at North Park
|San Diego, CA
|Touhill Performing Arts Center
|St. Louis, MO
|Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
|Kansas City, MO
|Baton Rouge, LA
|New Orleans, LA
|Bass Concert Hall
|Oklahoma City, OK
|Red Rocks Amphitheatre*
^ w/Andrew Bird
* w/Gillian Welch
Madison Cunningham opens for all other dates.