Punch Brothers' album Hell on Church Street is the band's reimaigining of, and homage to, the late bluegrass great Tony Rice’s landmark solo album Church Street Blues, featuring an inspired collection of songs by Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Bill Monroe, and others. Recorded in November 2020, Hell on Church Street had been intended as both its own work of art and a gift to Rice, who died later that year. "After we got over the shock of losing our hero and friend," Noam Pikelny says, "we realized what Tony had left with us was his music, his spirit, and his legacy."
Hell on Church Street, Punch Brothers’ newest album, released January 14, 2022, on Nonesuch Records, is the band’s reimagining of, and homage to, the late bluegrass great Tony Rice’s landmark solo album Church Street Blues. The record features a collection of songs by Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Bill Monroe, and others.
Recorded at Nashville’s Blackbird Studio in November 2020, during a time of great uncertainty, Hell on Church Street was intended as both its own work of art and a gift to Rice, who died that Christmas. Punch Brothers said of Tony Rice and Church Street Blues: “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.”
Hell on Church Street follows Punch Brothers’ critically acclaimed and Grammy Award-winning 2018 album All Ashore, which featured nine original songs written by the band. The Boston Globe said of All Ashore, “Punch Brothers have crafted a deeply meaningful and downright gorgeous record that takes the world for what it is, but doesn’t use that as an excuse to give up.”
Punch Brothers—guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjoist Noam Pikelny, mandolinist/singer Chris Thile, and fiddler Gabe Witcher—formed in 2006 and released its first Nonesuch record, Punch, in 2008. In 2009, the band began a residency at NYC’s intimate Lower East Side club The Living Room, trying out new songs and ultimately spawning Antifogmatic (2010). Those albums were followed by the critically praised Who’s Feeling Young Now? (also recorded at Blackbird Studio) in 2012 and 2015’s T Bone Burnett-produced The Phosphorescent Blues.