October 21, 2008


The Punch Brothers: Desolation Booth In The Grassy Hills (Sean Moeller , 21 October 2008, Daytrotter)

The three-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers, despite owning the best record in the National League, might have destroyed this man of nimble fingers and tender voice. It’s what the Cubbies will do to any man who probably considers few places as idyllic as Wrigley Field on a clear June afternoon with some supreme nachos, a couple dogs and two-fisting lukewarm Old Styles. It’s the man he raised himself to become and it’s what makes the demise of this once promising baseball season – on the 100-year anniversary of the last time the team had won the World Series – so paralyzing. He’s a wreck of a man, unshaven and mumbling something foul about Kosuke Fukudome and a punchless Alfonzo Soriano talking about being built for a marathon, not a sprint. It’s this subject that has Thile, one of the three founding members of the genre-crossing/mostly bluegrass group Nickel Creek, tongue-tied and dejected. Don’t expect it to turn into the kind of luxurious and sprawling suite of songs that he organized for his new band’s latest record, Punch, an ambitious foray into dimensions of bluegrass and country that have no business being called either and that essentially is what makes the record so ambitious. For that lengthy piece of music, chopped into four movements, totaling up to nearly 43 minutes in whole, he tapped into something that was much more intimate and saddening, but ultimately something that needed to be worked out verbally and artistically. When it comes to getting one’s hopes up over a five or seven-game series during the fall nights and days when most fans have no one left to cheer for in comparison with the permanent end of a sacred promise to another person, there’s really nothing to compare.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 21, 2008 5:48 PM
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