74: The Hipster Music Digest, episode 12, featuring Punch Brothers

Newgrass! Progressive-minded, multi-instrumental outfits. Basically ‘New Bluegrass’, got it?


 Chris Thile began his career in 1994 at age twelve, releasing a surprisingly sturdy bluegrass album that consisted solely of unassisted mandolin interpretations of classic ballads, and has mushroomed into one of the world’s premier mandolin players, accompanying the likes of Doc Watson in live performances. He has led several outfits through his career, (including Nickel Creek), but most recently (and, in our opinion, the best of his endeavors) The Punch Brothers.

   The group formed, roughly, in 2006, and keeps about five members- the most recognizable of which are banjo man Noam Pikelny and fiddle expert Gabe Witcher (who I think has the most amazing name ever. I mean really.)  

The members knew each other proffesionally, as friends of friends within the same genre. The fateful evening came in 2006, when they sat down to jam off the cuff- they knew immediately that they had the right members, but the diverse crowd had a bit of a conundrum with genres: Thile explains that, “I knew I wanted to have a band with Gabe [Witcher]…they knew I wanted to put together a bluegrass band- one with a lot of range- but aesthetically, a bluegrass band.”

And so it began:

‘Dark days’ even made it to the soundtrack of the Hunger Games:

No concern of yours

Paperback writer


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