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The 65th Street Session: Punch Brothers and Watchhouse featuring Sarah Jarosz

Dec 06

Series curator and NY Phil Creative Partner Chris Thile has created an evening of musical synergy. Part of the American Acoustic Tour, the evening features Punch Brothers, Thile’s folk ensemble, performing alongside the Americana duo Watchhouse and bluegrass singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz. Enjoy how they unwind the tangled roots of American folk music — with a twist.

 
DATE / TIME

Tue

7:30 PM

6

Dec

2022

Buy Tickets
Location

Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall

Artists

  • Chris Thile

    Curator / Performer

    MacArthur Fellow and Grammy Award–winning mandolinist, singer, and songwriter Chris Thile is a founding member of the critically acclaimed bands Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek. For four years he hosted the public radio favorite Live from Here with Chris Thile (formerly known as A Prairie Home Companion). With his broad outlook, he creates a distinctly American canon and a new musical aesthetic for performers and audiences alike.


    Learn more about Chris Thile
  • Punch Brothers

    Band

    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 All Ashore (2018). Punch Brothers formed in 2006. Their 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 New York City’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? 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. In November 2020, when the world felt so full of uncertainty, Punch Brothers did the one thing that they could rely on: they stood in a circle, facing one another, and made music. A weeklong recording session, after quarantining and minimal rehearsal aside from a few Zoom calls, culminated in Hell on Church Street, a reimagining of Bluegrass great Tony Rice’s landmark album Church Street Blues (Nonesuch, 2022). Hell on Church Street is a potent work by a band realizing their own powers and returning to the foundations of their music. 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: “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.”


    Learn more about Punch Brothers
  • Watchhouse

    Band

    By the time 2019 came to its fitful end, Andrew Marlin knew he was tired of touring. He was grateful, of course, for the ascendancy of Mandolin Orange, the duo he’d cofounded in North Carolina with fiddler Emily Frantz exactly a decade earlier. With time, they had become new flagbearers of the contemporary folk world, sweetly singing soft songs about the hardest parts of our lives, both as people and as a people. Their rise — marked by crowds that grew first to fill small dives, then the Ryman, then amphitheaters the size of Red Rocks — humbled Frantz and Marlin, who became parents to Ruby late in 2018. They’d made a life of this. Still, every night, Marlin especially was paid to relive a lifetime of grievances and griefs onstage. Those tunes conflicted with the name Mandolin Orange, an early-20s holdover that never quite comported with the music they made. Nightly soundchecks, at least, provided temporary relief, as the band worked through a batch of guarded but hopeful songs written just after Ruby’s birth. They offered a new way to think about an established act. Those tunes are now Watchhouse, a moniker inspired by Marlin’s place of childhood solace. The name represents their reinvention as a band at the regenerative edges of subtly experimental folk-rock. Challenging as they are charming, and an inspired search for personal and political goodness, these nine songs offer welcome lessons about what any of us might become when the night begins to break. “We’re different people than when we started this band,” Marlin says, reflecting on all these shifts. “We’re setting new intentions, taking control of this thing again.”


  • Sarah Jarosz

    Singer

    With her captivating voice and richly detailed songwriting, Sarah Jarosz has emerged as one of the most compelling musicians of her generation. A four-time Grammy Award winner and ten-time nominee at the age of 30, the Texas native started singing as a young girl and became an accomplished multi-instrumentalist by her early teens. Since releasing her full-length debut, Song Up in Her Head, at age 18, she went on to deliver such critically lauded albums as Follow Me Down, Build Me Up From Bones, and Undercurrent, in addition to joining forces with Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan to form the acclaimed folk trio I’m With Her. Her fifth studio album, World On The Ground, produced by John Leventhal, went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Americana Album. In 2021 Jarosz released the Grammy-nominated Blue Heron Suite, a much anticipated song cycle that she composed after being the recipient of the FreshGrass Composition Commission. She will continue to tour in 2022 in support of both releases.


    Learn more about Sarah Jarosz

Special Thanks

The 65th Street Session is presented by Laura Chang and Arnold Chavkin.

Lead support for The 65th Street Session is provided by Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, GRoW @ Annenberg.

This concert is part of the Wu Tsai Series Inaugural Season.

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