Sat, Mar 29, at 8:00 pm
Back by popular demand, Punch Brothers, the astonishing, otherworldly string band quintet featured on the soundtrack of the Coen Brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis, will play Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, March 29, at 8 p.m.
One of the most sophisticated young bands on the folk/bluegrass scene, Punch Brothers acted as house band for the “Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’” concert in New York in September 2013. The concert, celebrating folk legends such as Jack White, Patti Smith, Joan Baez and Elvis Costello, aired on Showtime in December.
“The Punch Brothers are the leading musicians in the world today,” Oscar winner and Inside Llewyn Davis executive music producer T Bone Burnett told HuffPost Entertainment, calling leader Chris Thile the Louis Armstrong of his time. “I hold The Punch Brothers in highest regard,” said Burnett, who drafted them to sing “The Auld Triangle” alongside Marcus Mumford and film co-star Justin Timberlake on the soundtrack.
The New York-based quintet includes the dynamic Chris Thile (pronounced THE-lee with a soft th) on mandolin, guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjoist Noam Pikelny and violinist Gabe Witcher. Their popularity got a nudge when their song “Dark Days” was featured on The Hunger Games soundtrack in 2012. The New Yorker dubbed their sound “a mystical alchemy of old-time music and contemporary sensibilities.” The band starred in the 2012 documentary How to Grow a Band, and released their third album, Who’s Feeling Young Now? on Nonesuch Records earlier that year. Vanity Fair touts the album as “their most expressive work yet as an ensemble – sophisticated, pop-y, kinetic and profound, all at once.”
Punch Brothers is a band of freewheeling string virtuosos, who have full musical personas together and separately. They have appeared at Carnegie Hall, opened for Steve Martin’s national tour, and were featured on the Chieftain’s 50th Anniversary disc, Voice of Ages. Martin, for instance, calls banjoist Noam Pikelny “a player of unlimited range and astonishing precision.” In their 20s and 30s, the group is maturing in its writing, with a loose, simple, unaffectedly youthful performance style and, of late, a “hard-charging string-band punk rock” sound, according to its press materials.
Opening for Punch Brothers is singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan (pronounced EE-fuh), who has collaborated with Chris Thile, Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Stuart Duncan, Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Nickel Creek, and many others. She fronted for Crooked Still and was a member of Sometymes Why. Now exploring solo endeavors, Aoife recently released her second album, Fossils.
Jorgensen was named Best College/University Performing Arts Center in the Hartford Advocate Best of Hartford Readers’ Poll for 2013 and 2012.
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2132 Hillside Road on the UConn campus in Storrs. Ticket prices are $35, $30 and $28. For tickets and information, call the Box Office at 860.486.4226, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., or order online at jorgensen.uconn.edu. Convenient, free parking is available across the street in the North Garage.