Punch Brothers return with All Ashore, their first self-produced album. "It's a meditation on committed relationships in the present day," says Chris Thile, "particularly in the present climate." The Independent calls it "an album of rich instrumentation and understated beauty that reveals deeper nuances on each and every listen." The Boston Globe says it's "a deeply meaningful and downright gorgeous record." Grammy Award Winner: Best Folk Album.
Grammy Award Winner: Best Folk Album
Punch Brothers' first self-produced album, All Ashore, was released CD and digitally July 20, 2018, from Nonesuch Records; vinyl on September 7. The record includes nine original songs written by the band. Here's video for "It's All Part of the Plan," filmed by Alex Chaloff at Nashville's Layman Drug Company:
All Ashore follows Punch Brothers' critically acclaimed T Bone Burnett–produced 2015 release, The Phosphorescent Blues, of which NPR said, "Punch Brothers sing of distraction and isolation in the digital age … the sound is all their own." For All Ashore, the quintet—guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjo player Noam Pikelny, mandolinist and lead singer Chris Thile, and fiddler Gabe Witcher—again attempt to make sense of the world around them.
As Thile says, the album is "a meditation on committed relationships in the present day, particularly in the present political climate." He continues, "We were hoping to create something that would be convincing as a complete thought, in this case as a nine-movement, or nine-piece, thought. Though it's rangy in what it's talking about, and in the characters who are doing the talking…"
Punch Brothers returned to the same room at United Recording Studios in Hollywood (formerly Ocean Way) where they had recorded both The Phosphorescent Blues and their 2010 Jon Brion–produced Antifogmatic. Thile says they felt they had "established a rapport" with the space; the same "level of trust and love that breeds confidence" also led them to produce the album themselves, for the first time.
"After four previous experiences we felt like we knew what we wanted. Going in we knew what we needed it to sound like and I think we had a specific enough vision to make the reality match up with that—as opposed to having someone navigate us toward something," Thile explains. "Also, T Bone last time around, with engineer Mike Piersante, led us to a sonic place where we knew we wanted to be again."
Punch Brothers formed in 2006. Its first Nonesuch record, Punch, was released in 2008 and combined elements of the band's many musical interests. In 2009, they began a residency at NYC's intimate club The Living Room, trying out new songs and ultimately spawning Antifogmatic. In 2012, the band released Who's Feeling Young Now?, which Q praised for its "astonishing, envelope-pushing vision," while Rolling Stone said, "The acoustic framework dazzles—wild virtuosity used for more than just virtuosity." Its follow-up, The Phosphorescent Blues, was called "a typical genre-busting melange of avant-roots music that fuses jazz instrumental chops and acoustic earthiness, Beach Boys harmonies and Debussy string dances, slinky acoustic rock songs and blues laments" by the Chicago Tribune and a mixture of "chamber-music intricacy, improvisational flash, lump-in-throat balladry, and a puckish Debussy cover; T Bone Burnett's canny production simultaneously captures the band's woodsy caress and enhances its emotional impact," by the Boston Globe.
Recently, Chris Thile took over hosting duties of Live from Here (formerly A Prairie Home Companion) in 2016 and released Thanks for Listening in late 2017—a collection of songs written for his popular radio show. Chris Eldridge partnered with Julian Lage for Mount Royal and Noam Pikelny released his fourth solo album, Universal Favorite. Both Mount Royal and Universal Favorite earned Grammy nominations and were produced by Gabe Witcher, who was also behind Sara Watkins' latest album, Young in All the Wrong Ways. Paul Kowert has been recording and touring with the Dave Rawlings Machine and recently released Unless, the debut album from Hawktail, Kowert's band with Jordan Tice, Brittney Haas, and Dominick Leslie.
Produced by Punch Brothers
Recorded and Mixed by Jason Wormer at United Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA, and East West Studios, Hollywood, CA
Additional Engineering: Rouble Kapoor at United Recording Studios; Chaz Sexton and Chad Gordon at East West Studios, Hollywood, CA
Mastered by Gavin Lurssen at Lurssen Mastering, Burbank, CA
Illustrations by Richard Mia
Photography by Josh Goleman
Design by Jeri Heiden at Smog Design, Inc.
Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz
Chris Thile, lead and harmony vocals, mandolin
Noam Pikelny, harmony vocals, banjo
Chris Eldridge, harmony vocals, guitar
Paul Kowert, harmony vocals, bass
Gabe Witcher, harmony vocals, fiddle