The Punch Brothers: You Are

Written by Joshua Jeremiah


In category: Song of the Day

Published January 22, 2018

Greetings to any first time NYFOS blog readers and a hearty welcome back to the faithful NYFOS-ers (NYFOS-ians… NYFOS-ites?) that are regular readers of this blog! HAPPY MONDAY!!!

Josh Jeremiah here, and I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to share some of the music that I love, and from which I gather my musical inspiration. However, sorting through my computer for only five songs, when my collection somewhat embarrassingly numbers close to 100,000, is something of a monumental feat. So in order to wade through this sea of art, which I luxuriously find at my fingertips, I have decided to share a bit of music that I keep with me all the time… on my cellphone.

Once I set myself this somewhat arbitrary but completely necessary boundary, I immediately knew what I wanted to share on the first day… something from the bluegrass genre by Chris Thile. Mr Thile is an extraordinary mandolin player, in addition to a singer, composer, and now host of the Public Radio program Live From Here (formerly titled A Prairie Home Companion). He has an extensive catalog of recordings, which range from his bluegrass band Nickel Creek, numerous solo albums including Deceiver (on which he plays every instrument), his mandolin recording of Bach Sonatas and Partitas, to his collaborations with such renowned musicians as Yo-Yo Ma, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Michael Daves, and Brad Mehldau.

Everything this man records is worthy of your time, and his talent and creativity are astounding and inspiring, however, my favorite of his music comes from the band Punch Brothers. Wikipedia classifies them as “Progressive bluegrass/classical music/acoustic music”, and I go out of my way to make sure that I always have something of theirs on my phone. Musically rich, and often lyrically challenging, I can’t recommend them enough… which is why I was so happy that Theo Hoffman already stole my initial idea by recommending Familiarity back in July of 2015. It’s completely worth going back for a second (or first) listen, and I’ll wait the 10 minutes while you do so…

seriously, go listen…

… pretty fantastic, no? So, since Theo has such wonderful taste, I’m going to recommend a different track, this one from their second album Antifogmatic. It is titled “You Are”. Normally I can’t stomach country music, at least what passes as country music these days (Rest-In-Awesome Johnny Cash), but bluegrass, even when it sounds VERY traditional, has always held a certain allure for me. It’s probably the virtuosic nature of the banjo which initially drew me in (just wait until later in the week when I make you listen to 80’s metal!!!) but I find Chris Thile and the other members of Punch Brothers to be the absolute pinnacle of both artistry and creativity, and I hope that you will delve more into their recordings. May they bring you as much joy as they do me.

Thanks for reading/listening, and I’ll be back here tomorrow with a selection from another genre as we journey through the dark musical recesses of my phone.

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Already this season, Grammy-nominated baritone Joshua Jeremiah made his LA Opera debut in Persona, sang the role of Silvio (Pagliacci) in his debut with New Orleans Opera, and performed with NYC’s Heartbeat Opera in All the World’s a Drag. Early in 2017, Joshua returned to Arizona Opera to originate the role of Lassiter in the world-premiere of Riders of the Purple Sage by Craig Bohmler and Steven Mark Kohn. He performed the role of Gianni Schicchi in Opera Company Middlebury’s production of Il Trittico, and sang the role of Ford (Falstaff) with Resonance Works in Pittsburgh. In 2016, he received accolades for his performance as the title role of Verdi’s Macbeth with Opera Company Middlebury, where he was described as having a “marvelous voice,” and giving “a nuanced, fascinating performance as a conflicted Macbeth.” Other recent appearances include: Col. Von Kalle (Mata Hari) 2017 Prototype festival; Demetrius (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) with Hawaii Opera Theater; Rigoletto, Arizona Opera; Iago (Otello) with Berks Opera; Sonora (La fanciulla del West) and Starek (Jenůfa), Des Moines Metro Opera; concerts with the New Haven Symphony; and the title role of Gianni Schicchi, Mobile Opera.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    I rarely listen to pop music of any kind and that’s probably a mistake. I can see a more relaxed yet focused quality in the performances of singers who do.


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