Hell on Church Street – Punch Brothers remember Tony Rice

Punch Brothers have announced a new album recorded as a tribute to the late Tony Rice, who had served as a major influence on each of them, and to the group as a whole. Hell on Church Street is set for a January 14, 2022 release on Nonesuch Records, which will be followed by a US tour running through early March.

Hell on Church Street is a reimagining of the entire Church Street Blues record, Rice’s 1983 classic believed by many fans to be his finest and most definitive work, largely because it was Tony in its purest form, on solo guitar and vocal. Punch Brothers have recut each of the album’s 11 tracks, and sequenced them in the same order, very important to serious aficionados.

It was recorded in November 2020, presaging Tony’s passing a month later, and making its imminent release all the more poignant.

Speaking jointly, the band issued this statement…

“No record (or musician) has had a greater impact on us, and we felt compelled to cover it in its entirety, with the objective of interacting with it in the same spirit of respect-fueled adventure that Tony brought to each of its pre-existing songs.”

Here’s a first look and listen, Punch Brothers in the studio with their arrangement of Church Street Blues.

Punch Brothers are Chris Thile on mandolin, Chris Eldridge on guitar, Noam Pikelny on banjo, Gabe Witcher on fiddle, and Paul Kowert on bass.

Pre-orders for Hell on Church Street can be placed on the Punch Brothers web site. Tickets for the 2022 tour dates go on sale October 1 at 10:00 a.m. online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.