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Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer Preview New Album at Aspen

Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile [cover]

Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer will preview their forthcoming, self-titled
Nonesuch duo debut tonight in a special concert at the Aspen Music
Festival's Harris Concert Hall. On the album, due out September 23 and available now for pre-order in the Nonesuch Store, are 12 original songs by the two musicians, who have been performing together on-and-off for a number of years. There's also a deluxe version of the album that includes a 50-minute DVD with performances, rehearsals, and behind-the-scenes footage with Edgar and Chris.

Leading up to tonight's performance, the Aspen Times's Stewart Oksenhorn talks to Chris about his pairing with Meyer, which you can read here, and reviews Chris's first Nonesuch record, Punch, with the Punch Brothers, released in February. In the latter article, Oksenhorn says that with the music of Punch, the band aimed "to expand the boundaries of string music while keeping it all acoustic" and, indeed, has succeeding in bringing "acoustic music to an appreciably higher level."

While Punch Brother's roots may be in bluegrass, particularly in its instrumentation, it has not limited itself to the strictures of any one genre in creating its new sound. Writes Oksenhorn:

The drive of bluegrass is replaced by a more free-floating rhythmic sensibility that can turn on a dime from a glide to a chug, and right back again. The rhythmic ideal at play here is reason enough for aspiring string players to study Punch; the opening track, “Punch Bowl,” in just three and a half minutes, covers an enormous range of tempos.

From the opening track, the album moves on to its centerpiece, the multi-movement work penned by Chris, The Blind Leaving the Blind, which, says Oksenhorn, "covers huge swaths of territory. The aim is to blend tightly composed sections with passages of blinding group improvisation, and the Punch Brothers do it so well here, it’s often hard to tell which they’re doing at any given time."

To read the full review, visit aspentimes.com. To read Oksenhorn's interview with Chris, click here. For more on tonight's performance, visit aspenmusicfestival.com.

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