Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Connecting With The Punch Brothers

Books such as The Big Disconnect, by Catherine Steiner-Adair, lament how we humans are changing as we increasingly connect more to our technology than each other.  Books such as Howard Rheingold's Netsmart give us suggestions as to how to balance our technical connections with our connections to each other.    In the "Phosphorescent Blues" The Punch Brothers take on these types of questions, deeply, thoughtfully, and ultimately beautifully.

The Punch Brothers feature two artists who grew up in professional musical families.  Chris Thile, mandolin, started playing with Nickel Creek when he was 8 years old.  Chris Eldridge, guitar,  is the son of Ben Eldridge of The Seldom Scene.  While, all the musicians in the band are virtuosos at their respective crafts, the Punch Brothers music also features terrific songwriting. Their music, while hard to categorize, is a progressive mix of alternative music, jazz, classical music and bluegrass.  The resultant sound is complex, etherial, and richly attractive.  The Phosphorescent Blues is the band's 4th album for Nonesuch Records.  The production, wonderfully understated, by T-Bone Burnett is terrific.

In my day job I work to help prepare students, who will retire in the late 21st century, for their futures. As such, a fair amount of technology is involved.  I'm passionate about helping young people be technologically savvy while leading balanced, happy, and meaningful lives.  The striving to achieve that balance is the theme of this special album.

Most of the songs on this album ask questions without answers. “How long, oh Lord, can we keep the whole world spinning under our thumbs?” the band warmly harmonizes on “My Oh My,” their voices rising and falling. What a wonderfully important question!

Enjoy the Punch Brother's performing, "I Blew It Off".  As you enjoy this performance pay particular attention to how this song develops and morphs.

The Band is currently on tour.  It looks like their shows should be terrific. You can see their tour schedule here.

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