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Punch Brothers and Watchhouse tickets at Westville Music Bowl in New Haven
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Thu Aug 18, 2022 - 6:30 PM

Punch Brothers and Watchhouse

American Acoustic featuring Sarah Jarosz
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Onsale Starts: Fri, Apr 8, 2022 @ 10 AM ET

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Punch Brothers and Watchhouse

American Acoustic featuring Sarah Jarosz
Westville Music Bowl
45 Yale Avenue
New Haven, CT 06515
Thu Aug 18, 2022 - 6:30 PM
Doors Open: 5:30 PM
Onsale: Fri Apr 8, 2022 - 10:00 AM
By purchasing tickets to this event, you agree to abide by the State of CT, City of New Haven, Artist, and Westville Music Bowl Health and Safety measures in effect at the time of the event, which may include, but not be limited to, wearing... More Info
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Bio: Punch Brothers

Punch Brothers are mandolinist Chris Thile, guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjoist Noam Pikelny, and violinist Gabe Witcher. Their accolades include a Grammy for best folk album for their 2018 release All Ashore, and praise from the media, including the Washington Post, which said, "With enthusiasm and experimentation, Punch Brothers take bluegrass to its next evolutionary stage, drawing equal inspiration from the brain and the heart."
 
In November of 2020, when the world felt so full of uncertainty, Punch Brothers did 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 album, Church Street Blues—out on Nonesuch in January 2022.
 
Hell on Church Street is a potent work by a band realizing their own powers and returning to the foundations of their music. 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.” Pikelny adds, “It made me think of how many times Punch Brothers closed doors for ourselves as far as covering other people’s material beyond one or two songs here and there. But I can’t imagine making a more personal record, solely through the power of interpretation and delivery. It felt right and proper.”
 
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. 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”.
 
Church Street Blues was Tony Rice’s great statement. Rice had already made his name as a member of the legendary bluegrass band JD Crowe and The New South and pushed the boundaries of string music as a founding member of the David Grisman Quartet, but this album was him on his own, stripped back to just his guitar, his voice, and an inspired collection of the songs. Performing songs by heavyweights like Gordon Lightfoot and bluegrass founder Bill Monroe, Rice’s interpretations of these songs and tunes have since become the standard.
 
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 Lower East Side club The Living Room, trying out new songs and ultimately spawning Antifogmatic (2010). In 2012, the band released Who’s Feeling Young Now?, which praised for its ‘astonishing, envelope-pushing vision’, while Rolling Stone said, “The acoustic framework dazzles–wild virtuosity used for more than just virtuosity.” Their 2015 album, the T Bone Burnett-produced, The Phosphorescent Blues, addresses with straight-up poignancy and subversive humor, the power and the pitfalls of our super-connected world. 
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Bio: Watchhouse

During the last year, most of us have been told that the most helpful thing we can do is stay home and out of the way, protecting others by doing as little as possible. For some, that rare respite has offered the chance to reflect on what is important and to reimagine what is possible. That has been the case for Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz, the couple known for more than a decade now as Mandolin Orange. In 2020, they raised their toddler. They recorded their most audacious album yet. And they decided it was finally time to change their name—to Watchhouse, an identity that reflects their true intentions.   

"Mandolin Orange was born out of my 21-year-old mind. The name isn’t what I strive for when I write, because it doesn’t match what I picture when I invite people into my songs, new or old,” admits Marlin. “We have long been burdened by the dichotomy between our band name and the music we strive to create—if you’ve heard the songs, you know they are personal. Now that we can see a future where music is a shared experience again, we're defining the space we share.” 

During Marlin’s difficult teenage years, a family of friends would take him on biannual trips to a tiny Chesapeake Bay hunting cabin, suspended by stilts above a tidal island and accessible only by boat. He would sit there, sans electricity and electronic devices, reveling in an admixture of silence and communion—thinking, looking, being. That was The Watch House, and that is the space Marlin, Frantz, and their sterling ensemble now aim to shape in Watchhouse. The last year afforded Marlin and Frantz a chance to reset and restart. Watchhouse is their vital first step.

 “We’re different people than when we started this band,” says Marlin. “We’re setting new intentions, taking control of this thing again.” 

With this step, Watchhouse are also presenting the song and video “Better Way,” a gently rapturous song about what we lose staring only at screens and what we gain through simple human interaction. With its compulsory hook suspended inside a beautifully spectral arrangement, all leading to an extended improvisational dénouement, it is unlike anything Marlin and Frantz have ever made, a fitting introduction to the new world of Watchhouse.

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