Saturday To-Do: Punch Brothers | Rock Candy

Friday, November 21, 2008

Saturday To-Do: Punch Brothers

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 1:45 PM

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PUNCH BROTHERS
8 p.m., Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville. $18-$28.

Ex-Nickel Creek mandolin whiz Chris Thile (a former child prodigy who's been releasing albums for more than half of his life) continues to push the bounds of bluegrass in his new band, a quintet that brings together vets of Jerry Douglas' band and the Infamous Stringdusters. The band's debut, released earlier this year and simply called “Punch,” features Thile singing, in a way familiar to Nickel Creek fans (high, clear and plaintively) and also includes long instrumental passages, filled with dissonance and deviations from conventional structure — and bright sections of exhilarating acoustic music any fan would recognize as bluegrass. A 40-minute, four-movement suite on the album, a meditation on divorce and redemption, inspired the New York Times to suggest the band might be on to an emerging style: “American country-classical chamber music.” But Thile's influences aren't all high. He and his mates typically cover Radiohead and the Strokes in concert (one guesses that Nickel Creek's cover of Pavement's “Spit on a Stranger” was his doing).

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