Regular readers of Bluegrass Today will have noted our unrestrained enthusiasm for mandolin prodigy Chris Thile’s return to a more bluegrass-like vehicle for his creative energies. We not only cheered his re-embrace of the Bill Monroe bluegrass band format, we welcomed the opportunity to watch and hear him interact musically with artists that are his instrumental peers.
When the breakup of Nickel Creek was announced in 2006 – as an indefinite hiatus – Thile released his solo project for Sugar Hill, How To Grow A Woman From The Ground, with a group of young acoustic superpickers. He toured in support of the CD with this same band (Noam Pikelny on banjo, Greg Garrison on bass, Gabe Witcher on fiddle, Chris Eldridge on guitar) as How To Grow A Band.
That group was morphed into The Tensions Mountain Boys for the live debut in March 2007 of Thile’s long form composition, The Blind Leaving The Blind, a change in name only. A deal was announced just last month for Thile and The Tensions Mountain Boys to record a new project for Nonesuch Records, and recording for that project started this past weekend.
In tandem with the start of the recording process, Thile has yet another new band – accomplished once again with no change in personnel. Punch Brothers has been unveiled on Chris’ MySpace page, along with a witty, tongue-in-cheek description of how it came to be.
They will perform this coming weekend in Nashville at The Station Inn, performing Friday-Sunday (9/21-23). Once Nickel Creek’s Farewell Tour has concluded in November, Punch Brothers will begin touring in earnest.