Planet Bluegrass will be presenting this month arguably the best of the finest contemporary string bands, Punch Brothers. Led by multitalented musician Chris Thile who plays mandolin, bouzouki, mandola, banjo, viola, double bass, cello, piano, violin, guitar, sitar, tenor guitar, and has a wonderful voice.
Thile began playing the mandolin at age five. At age eight, Thile’s family and the Watkins family formed Nickel Creek. The band performed at many California bluegrass festivals, and as a result Chris had to be home schooled. At age 12, he won the mandolin championship at the Walnut Valley festival in Winfield, Kansas. Nickel Creek was as successful as contemporary bluegrass groups get–which is to say, very successful.
When the band broke up amid personal turmoil in 2006, singer and mandolinist Chris Thile formed Punch Brothers. He used it to explore his progressive, experimental side. In 2009 Thile completed a mandolin concerto entitled “Ad astra per alas porci.” The work was commissioned by a consortium of orchestras, including the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
The band consists of Thile on mandolin, Paul Kowert bass, Chris “Critter” Eldridge guitar, Norm Pikelny banjo and Gabe Witcher fiddle. All are considered first-class musicians and together a real force. Thile made his first appearance on Prairie Home Companion in 1996 at the age of 15. In July 2015, Garrison Keller announced he was officially leaving the radio show and Thile would take over as host. Thile did and renamed the show Live from Here. It closed due to the pandemic in 2020.
The Cohen Brothers’ producers (who did the critically acclaimed “Inside Llewyn Davis” film) hired well-respected T-Bone Burnett to stage a concert in New York with the Punch Brothers acting as house band. Burnett says, “Chris Thile is the greatest musician out there today and is reinventing this traditional American music for this century.” Burnett went on to say “an ongoing renaissance in American music is already happening with acts like Punch Brothers, Milk Carton Kids and Rhiannon Giddens.”
Chronologically here are some of Thile’s awards over the years:
· 1996 – Nominated for Grammy Award for best instrumental performance for “Scotland” from True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe
· 1997 – IBMA award for Album of the Year for True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe
· 2001 – IBMA award for Mandolinist of the Year
· 2002 – Won Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk album for This Side (with Nickel Creek)
· 2005 – Nominated for Grammy Award for Best engineered album non-classical for Deceiver
· 2006 – Nominated for Grammy Award for best Country instrumental performance for “The Eleventh Reel”
· 2007 – BBC’s Folk Musician of the Year
· 2007 – Nominated for IBMA Mandolinist of the Year
· 2008 – Nominated for American music Association Instrumentalist of the Year
· 2012 – Nominated for Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass album for Sleep with One Eye Open (with Michael Daves)
· 2012 – MacArthur Fellowship ($500,000 ‘Genius Grant’)
· 2013 – Won Grammy Award for Best Folk Album for The Goat Rodeo Sessions (with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, and Edgar Meyer)
· 2014 – Won Grammy Award for Best Contemporary instrumental album for Bass & Mandolin (with Edgar Meyer)
· 2015 – Awarded Honorary Doctorate from The New School
· 2019 – Won Grammy Award for Best Folk Album for All Ashore (with Punch Brothers.
The Punch Brothers members are all steeped in Bluegrass and will admit to beginning their music careers in Bluegrass. But as Chris Thile said, “Identifying ourselves with Bluegrass is of secondary importance to identifying ourselves with the brotherhood and sisterhood of creative musicians, people who gather all of their influences together and with all of those strands they weave together something entirely new, to me that is what’s exciting.”
Listen to Punch Brothers tunes like Movement and Location or Three Dots and a Dash, or them playing Mozart, Debussy, Bach, Radiohead or The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations and you will quickly realize this is not your father’s Bluegrass band.
Opening the show at 6p.m. will be Hawktail an instrumental quartet with Brittany Hass on fiddle, Paul Kowert (from Punch Brothers) on upright bass, Jordan Tice on guitar, and Dominick Leslie on mandolin. Well versed in old time traditions, they are not replicators; their all-original music is cohesive and unique.
Aoife O’Donovan and her band will perform next, she is an Irish American singer/songwriter with one of the best voices in the industry. She is co-founder of bands I’m With Her and Crooked Still, and a featured guest in Goat Rodeo Sessions. Her voice is worth the price of admission. She won a Grammy in 2019 for Best American roots song for her song “Call My Name.”
Don’t miss this special show!
The essentials to know:
Thursday Sept. 16th, 2021, 6 p.m.
Planet Bluegrass Ranch– MAIN Stage (NOT Wildflower) — Tickets here: ADD TO CART
Proof of full vaccination or a negative Covid test* will be required to attend.
*Negative test must be within 48 hours of the event date.
Due to this policy change, refund requests will be accepted until September 1, 2021. Please email your request to email@example.com and include your order number (starts with “gn”).
All ages – Kids 12 and under are free with paying adult.
No re-entry, no camping. No outside alcohol or glass.
The venue is outdoors and the show will take place rain, or shine, or snow. Please dress accordingly!
Questions about the event? Contact your friends at Planet Bluegrass at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-624-2422.
Questions about your ticket or payment? Contact See Tickets at email@example.com or 323-908-0607.