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Punch Brothers|Hell on Church Street

Hell on Church Street

Punch Brothers

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A cover album of a cover album sounds pretty niche, but when you're talking about one of the liveliest and best respected modern folk and progressive bluegrass groups covering one of the most classic bluegrass albums of the past 40 years, the novelty is irresistible. To be crystal clear: Punch Brothers have created a loving tribute to Tony Rice's Church Street Blues. (The band first performed the songs live at the 2019 Rockygrass festival, a set which has become legendary among fans online.) A remarkably catholic collection of bluegrass, pop, bebop jazz, country, folk and gospel interpretations, Rice's album is now considered a near-perfect time capsule. Punch Brothers vocalist and mandolinist Chris Thile has recalled Alison Krauss once sitting him down, putting on Church Street Blues, and saying, "This is how you make a record." But where Rice went simple and clean, Punch Brothers take some breath-taking and delightful risks that really pay off. Banjo player Noam Pikelny accurately describes Rice's version of the Norman Blake title track as thus: "What he’s playing is so complicated, but it doesn’t feel that way, it feels elemental ... like falling off a log.” But Punch Brothers' cover, played in 5/4 time, swells with fuller instrumentation—its quick-pick banjo and mandolin contrasted with romantic, sweetly bowing fiddle. Bob Dylan's "One More Night" shines bright, the notes practically leaping in mid-air. And Jimmie Rodgers' "Any Old Time" is a true delight, reimagined as a playful Lovin' Spoonful-esque lark. Whereas Rice played UK folkie Ralph McTell's sentimental "Streets of London" as a '70s singer-songwriter weepie, Thile and co. strip it back even further, to a place that's moody, spare, jazzy and a little off-kilter. Rice's jaw-dropping picking on Blake's "Orphan Annie" here gets a more relaxed interpretation led by Punch Brothers' Noam Pikelny and bassist Paul Kowert, and buttressed by the group's golden-warm harmonies. Rice removed the laser-show psychedelia of Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," exposing its simple beauty. But Punch Brothers lay the song further bare, capturing all of its spookiness in that empty space. And a free-improv version of the bluegrass standard "Gold Rush" is not to be missed. Noam Pikelny said he remembers saying to Thile: “We needed to make this album in our lifetime. But wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t make this record in Tony Rice’s lifetime?” Sadly, Rice passed away in 2020, never having heard the band's gift to him. Somehow, that makes it even more poignant. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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Hell on Church Street

Punch Brothers

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1
Church Street Blues
00:02:33

Chris Thile, Mandolin, Lead Vocals - Gavin Lurssen, Masterer - David Boucher, Mixer - Gabe Witcher, Harmony Vocals, Fiddle - Norman Blake, Writer - Chris Eldridge, Guitar, Harmony Vocals - Noam Pikelny, Banjo, Harmony Vocals - Punch Brothers, Producer, MainArtist - David Sinko, Recorded by - Paul Kowert, Harmony Vocals, Bass - Sean Badum, Recorded by

© 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc.

2
Cattle in the Cane
00:03:32

Chris Thile, Mandolin, Lead Vocals - Gavin Lurssen, Masterer - David Boucher, Mixer - Gabe Witcher, Harmony Vocals, Fiddle - Chris Eldridge, Guitar, Harmony Vocals - Noam Pikelny, Banjo, Harmony Vocals - Punch Brothers, Producer, Arranger, MainArtist - David Sinko, Recorded by - Paul Kowert, Harmony Vocals, Bass - Sean Badum, Recorded by

© 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc.

3
Streets of London
00:04:22

Chris Thile, Mandolin, Lead Vocals - Ralph McTell, Writer - Gavin Lurssen, Masterer - David Boucher, Mixer - Gabe Witcher, Harmony Vocals, Fiddle - Chris Eldridge, Guitar, Harmony Vocals - Noam Pikelny, Banjo, Harmony Vocals - Punch Brothers, Producer, MainArtist - David Sinko, Recorded by - Paul Kowert, Harmony Vocals, Bass - Sean Badum, Recorded by

© 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc.

4
One More Night
00:01:49

Chris Thile, Mandolin, Lead Vocals - Gavin Lurssen, Masterer - David Boucher, Mixer - Gabe Witcher, Harmony Vocals, Fiddle - Chris Eldridge, Guitar, Harmony Vocals - Noam Pikelny, Banjo, Harmony Vocals - Punch Brothers, Producer, MainArtist - Robert Dylan, Writer - David Sinko, Recorded by - Paul Kowert, Harmony Vocals, Bass - Sean Badum, Recorded by

© 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc.

5
The Gold Rush
00:02:46

Chris Thile, Mandolin, Lead Vocals - Gavin Lurssen, Masterer - Bill Monroe, Writer - David Boucher, Mixer - Gabe Witcher, Harmony Vocals, Fiddle - Chris Eldridge, Guitar, Harmony Vocals - Noam Pikelny, Banjo, Harmony Vocals - Punch Brothers, Producer, MainArtist - David Sinko, Recorded by - Paul Kowert, Harmony Vocals, Bass - Sean Badum, Recorded by

© 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc.

6
Any Old Time
00:02:58

Chris Thile, Mandolin, Lead Vocals - Gavin Lurssen, Masterer - David Boucher, Mixer - Gabe Witcher, Harmony Vocals, Fiddle - Jimmy Rodgers, Writer - Chris Eldridge, Guitar, Harmony Vocals - Noam Pikelny, Banjo, Harmony Vocals - Punch Brothers, Producer, MainArtist - David Sinko, Recorded by - Paul Kowert, Harmony Vocals, Bass - Sean Badum, Recorded by

© 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc.

7
Orphan Annie
00:05:00

Chris Thile, Mandolin, Lead Vocals - Gavin Lurssen, Masterer - David Boucher, Mixer - Gabe Witcher, Harmony Vocals, Fiddle - Norman Blake, Writer - Chris Eldridge, Guitar, Harmony Vocals - Noam Pikelny, Banjo, Harmony Vocals - Punch Brothers, Producer, MainArtist - David Sinko, Recorded by - Paul Kowert, Harmony Vocals, Bass - Sean Badum, Recorded by

© 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc.

8
House Carpenter / Jerusalem Ridge
00:07:17

Chris Thile, Mandolin, Lead Vocals - Gavin Lurssen, Masterer - Bill Monroe, Writer - David Boucher, Mixer - Gabe Witcher, Harmony Vocals, Fiddle - Chris Eldridge, Guitar, Harmony Vocals - Noam Pikelny, Banjo, Harmony Vocals - Punch Brothers, Producer, MainArtist - David Sinko, Recorded by - Paul Kowert, Harmony Vocals, Bass - Sean Badum, Recorded by

© 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc.

9
Last Thing on My Mind
00:04:25

Chris Thile, Mandolin, Lead Vocals - Gavin Lurssen, Masterer - David Boucher, Mixer - Gabe Witcher, Harmony Vocals, Fiddle - Chris Eldridge, Guitar, Harmony Vocals - Noam Pikelny, Banjo, Harmony Vocals - Punch Brothers, Producer, Arranger, MainArtist - David Sinko, Recorded by - Paul Kowert, Harmony Vocals, Bass - Sean Badum, Recorded by

© 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc.

10
Pride of Man
00:03:53

Chris Thile, Mandolin, Lead Vocals - Gavin Lurssen, Masterer - David Boucher, Mixer - Gabe Witcher, Harmony Vocals, Fiddle - Hamilton Camp, Writer - Chris Eldridge, Guitar, Harmony Vocals - Noam Pikelny, Banjo, Harmony Vocals - Punch Brothers, Producer, MainArtist - David Sinko, Recorded by - Paul Kowert, Harmony Vocals, Bass - Sean Badum, Recorded by

© 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc.

11
Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
00:04:45

Gordon Lightfoot, Writer - Chris Thile, Mandolin, Lead Vocals - Gavin Lurssen, Masterer - David Boucher, Mixer - Gabe Witcher, Harmony Vocals, Fiddle - Chris Eldridge, Guitar, Harmony Vocals - Noam Pikelny, Banjo, Harmony Vocals - Punch Brothers, Producer, MainArtist - David Sinko, Recorded by - Paul Kowert, Harmony Vocals, Bass - Sean Badum, Recorded by

© 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records, Inc.

Album Description

A cover album of a cover album sounds pretty niche, but when you're talking about one of the liveliest and best respected modern folk and progressive bluegrass groups covering one of the most classic bluegrass albums of the past 40 years, the novelty is irresistible. To be crystal clear: Punch Brothers have created a loving tribute to Tony Rice's Church Street Blues. (The band first performed the songs live at the 2019 Rockygrass festival, a set which has become legendary among fans online.) A remarkably catholic collection of bluegrass, pop, bebop jazz, country, folk and gospel interpretations, Rice's album is now considered a near-perfect time capsule. Punch Brothers vocalist and mandolinist Chris Thile has recalled Alison Krauss once sitting him down, putting on Church Street Blues, and saying, "This is how you make a record." But where Rice went simple and clean, Punch Brothers take some breath-taking and delightful risks that really pay off. Banjo player Noam Pikelny accurately describes Rice's version of the Norman Blake title track as thus: "What he’s playing is so complicated, but it doesn’t feel that way, it feels elemental ... like falling off a log.” But Punch Brothers' cover, played in 5/4 time, swells with fuller instrumentation—its quick-pick banjo and mandolin contrasted with romantic, sweetly bowing fiddle. Bob Dylan's "One More Night" shines bright, the notes practically leaping in mid-air. And Jimmie Rodgers' "Any Old Time" is a true delight, reimagined as a playful Lovin' Spoonful-esque lark. Whereas Rice played UK folkie Ralph McTell's sentimental "Streets of London" as a '70s singer-songwriter weepie, Thile and co. strip it back even further, to a place that's moody, spare, jazzy and a little off-kilter. Rice's jaw-dropping picking on Blake's "Orphan Annie" here gets a more relaxed interpretation led by Punch Brothers' Noam Pikelny and bassist Paul Kowert, and buttressed by the group's golden-warm harmonies. Rice removed the laser-show psychedelia of Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," exposing its simple beauty. But Punch Brothers lay the song further bare, capturing all of its spookiness in that empty space. And a free-improv version of the bluegrass standard "Gold Rush" is not to be missed. Noam Pikelny said he remembers saying to Thile: “We needed to make this album in our lifetime. But wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t make this record in Tony Rice’s lifetime?” Sadly, Rice passed away in 2020, never having heard the band's gift to him. Somehow, that makes it even more poignant. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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