Punch Brothers

Punch Brothers

Gaby Moreno

Tue, June 13, 2017

Doors: 5:45 pm / Show: 6:30 pm

Denver Botanic Gardens - York Street

$64.00 - $69.00

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Punch Brothers
Punch Brothers
Punch Brothers' fourth Nonesuch 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 era. Digitally-fueled isolation may be a theme, but this virtuosic acoustic quintet offers its warmest, most emotive and elegantly melodic work to date—so invitingly human in its approach that it practically ushers the listener into the room as these guys assemble in front of a mic.

Indeed, a longing for community and connection was both impetus and inspiration for this disc. Never a group that could be accused of taking it easy, Punch Brothers had been touring almost non-stop since the majority of them first got together to support mandolin player Chris Thile's 2006 solo album, How to Grow a Woman From the Ground. (And whenever they did take a break from their official Punch Brothers duties, the individual members engaged in a staggering array of solo and collaborative projects with fellow travelers in the worlds of bluegrass, jazz, and classical music.) But in February 2013, after supporting the 2012 disc Who's Feeling Young Now?—an album in which, a New York Times reviewer opined, the band "shifted the emphasis from instrumental wizardry to playful storytelling" —Punch Bothers decided to scale back the concert schedule allowing themselves the chance to interact musically and personally, away from tour buses and dressing rooms.

Shortly before the sessions began, Thile and violinist Gabe Witcher met with Burnett and discovered the producer had the very same things on his mind. In fact, he'd just given a commencement address at the University of Southern California on the subject of technology and human interaction. Witcher remembers, "Thile and I looked at each and said, 'This is unbelievable. It's exactly what we are writing about.' So this was a perfect, serendipitous union."

That union was also a long time coming. Burnett had previously enlisted Punch Brothers to contribute music to the Hunger Games soundtrack he produced. They performed an even greater role on the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis, and served as the "house band" for the star-studded Another Day, Another Time concert Burnett organized at NYC's Town Hall in September 2013. Having Burnett at the helm of these Punch Brothers sessions was a revelatory experience, even for musicians already so finely attuned to each other.

"T Bone understood what we were trying to do and helped us get it even further," says bassist Paul Kowert. "He was like a coach and a teammate at once."

Final track "Little Lights" sums up The Phosphorescent Blues, a single-take recording that imagines countless smart phones held in the air as a symbol of hope and possibility, a 21st century twist on "This Little Light Of Mine." At its climax, the band is actually joined by a digital choir of its fans. The band had tried overdubbing their own voices, but that sounded contrived. Then one night, while driving home in L.A., Witcher had a brainstorm: If they didn't have the resources to assemble a choir in the studio, why not reach out directly to fans, via Twitter and their website, to add their voices? Eldridge reveals, "We received over a thousand submissions. It wasn't about people singing well or badly; we just wanted everyone in there."

"Little Lights" becomes a fitting, and genuinely uplifting, conclusion to The Phosphorescent Blues, as Punch Brothers address the questions they've posed about technology by conjuring up, in the course of the song, a very real virtual community. They used all the digital tools they had on hand, but it ultimately came together in a more familiar way, via words and music and voices.
Gaby Moreno
Gaby Moreno
Since moving to Los Angeles from her native Guatemala, singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno has achieved remarkable success as a musician. She has been nominated for an Emmy and won a Latin Grammy for Best New Artist. She has released four albums, toured with singers Tracy Chapman, Ani DiFranco, Punch Brothers, Hugh Laurie and Calexico, and has shared the international stage with pop music luminaries such as Bono, Andrea Boccelli and Van Dyke Parks.

In 2006, her song, “Escondidos,” took the top prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, the first contestant in the Latin category to win Song of the Year. (She’s now a judge.)

That opened many more doors.  Her first album, “Still the Unknown” , produced independently was released in 2008. Moreno’s career started moving quickly. She co-wrote the theme song of the television series"Parks and Recreation" which was nominated for an Emmy in 2010. That same year, she recorded the classic song “Smile,” by Charlie Chaplin, for the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove.”  And she performed “Toast to Freedom,” a song commemorating the 50 th  anniversary of Amnesty International, first with Kris Kristofferson on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, then in Dublin where she shared the stage with Angelique Kidjo and Bono. 

She released her second album, “Illustrated Songs” in 2011, followed by “Postales.” in 2012, her first release entirely in Spanish and with Metamorfosis, the label founded by her compatriot Ricardo Arjona, one of Latin America’s most prominent singer-songwriters. . That year, Moreno and Arjona released a duet, “Fuiste Tu,” which was nominated for Song of the Year and Record of the Year in the 13th Annual Latin Grammy Awards.

By the time Moreno was named Best New Artist in the 14 th  annual Latin Grammy Awards of 2013, the “newcomer” had already almost spent half her life in the music business. When it came time to record her latest album, Ilusión, Moreno decided it was time to harken back to beginnings. Musically, the new album captures the pure spirit of the aspiring immigrant artist who made her way in a new country with just her guitar, her gifted voice, and a pocketful of songs she was eager to share.