And before you accuse these fine gentlemen of trying to turn a buck on Tony’s passing, this project was conceived and recorded before we lost the guitar icon over Christmas in 2020.
Hell On Church Street has the punchiest of Punch Brothers intentions. They have recut Tony’s landmark 1983 record, Church Street Blues, with their own reimagined arrangements of each track. As usual, Chris Thile sings the lead vocals and plays mandolin, supported by a stalwart cast that includes Chris Eldridge on guitar, Noam Pikelny on banjo, Gabe Witcher on fiddle, and Paul Kowert on bass.
Today’s video is for Pride of Man, perhaps the most lyrically substantial song from Church Street Blues. Written and recorded in 1964 by British actor and folksinger Hamilton Camp, it is likely that Rice first heard Gordon Lightfoot’s version on his eponymous 1966 debut album. Deeply spiritual, the song employs dark and ominous allegory suggesting the end of the world, but ends with a prayer for mercy.
The Punch Brothers take is very much in their adventurous style, finishing up with a punchy bluegrass rhythm.
Check it out…
Punch Brothers have also launched a US tour to coincide with the album release. Tour dates are listed on their web site.