Grammy-winning bluegrass outfit Punch Brothers have announced additional dates for their 2022 tour, including a stop in Cincinnati at The Andrew J Brady Music Center on August 25. Led by Chris Tile, Punch Brothers are touring in support of their latest record Hell on Church Street; a reimagining of the famous Church Street Blues record by Tony Rice.
In November of 2020, when the world felt so full of uncertainty, the Grammy-winning folk band Punch Brothers did the one thing that they could rely on: they stood in a circle, facing one another, and made music together. A weeklong recording session, after quarantining and little rehearsal outside of a few Zoom calls, had culminated in their new record, Hell on Church Street—a reimagining of bluegrass great Tony Rice’s landmark solo album, Church Street Blues.
Hell on Church Street is a potent work by a band realizing its own powers and returning to the foundations of its music. The record finds the band at its most spontaneous—taking risks, listening deeply to one another, and approaching the music with a kind of immediacy only accessible to musicians of their particular ability who have also forged a deep trust over their decade and a half together. Bassist Paul Kowert considers this album to “harken back to our early days in the band when we were playing regularly on The Lower East Side, learning all this new material to expand our sonic arsenal.”
This band of virtuosi had spent more than a decade changing the face of acoustic music, stretching the limitations of instruments, and influencing a generation of young musicians—but life has a way of keeping a band from getting in the same room. Mandolinist Chris Thile elaborates that “these sessions were a reminder for me of what’s really important. I felt silly having this band take up so little of my creative year; it reminded me that us five together is critical to my happiness.”