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Blend of musical genres are Punch Brothers’ style

Group mixes bluegrass with classical, highlighted by mandolin virtuoso

POSTED: February 17, 2011 12:30 a.m.

If you like eclectic blends of musical styles, the Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile might be your taste.

The group the Boston Globe called a "virtuosic bluegrass quintet" will perform its mix of folk, jazz, country and classical in a concert Saturday at Hodgson Concert Hall in the UGA Performing Arts Center.

The Punch Brothers first came together for the 2006 album "How to Grow a Woman from the Ground," which earned a Grammy nomination. Members Chris Thile (mandolin), Chris Eldridge (guitar), Paul Kowert (bass), Noam Pikelny (banjo) and Gabe Witcher (fiddle) take their name from the Mark Twain story "Punch, Brothers, Punch!"

Punch Brothers shows original songs written by the band, traditional bluegrass and folk tunes, arrangements of Bach and Mozart and covers of Radiohead, The Beatles, The Band, The White Stripes, The Strokes and other groups.

A Punch Brothers set is also likely to feature the chamber suite "The Blind Leaving the Blind," an ambitious four-movement composition by Thile that premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2007.

Thile is credited with elevating the mandolin from its origins as a relatively simple folk and bluegrass instrument to the sophistication of the finest jazz improvisation and classical performance. Last year, he premiered his "Mandolin Concerto" with six orchestras throughout the United States.

For more than 15 years, he played in the popular band Nickel Creek, which produced three albums, sold 2 million records and won a 2002 Grammy Award.



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