Music, just like sports, is mostly a young man’s game. Most certainly there are wily veterans out there taking the field and taking the stage, but many of them made their name when they were young. It’s hard to hold onto the dream of making the big time the older you get, whether you’re trying to strike out opposing batters, or sing on the stage to strangers.
The Punch Brothers
The wait is nearly over, and the emergence of one of our generation’s most talented songwriters draws near as Oakdale, California’s Willy Tea Taylor readies the release of his debut album called “Knuckleball Prime.” The thought with Willy has always been that he is a gem waiting to be discovered, and Blackwing’s support may be what delivers Willy Tea to the wider audience his songs deserve.
Trust me when I say if you go ambling through American college towns, you won’t find anything resembling a dearth of string bands with a bunch of young men and their banjos and fiddles stomping and shouting on stage. What you will find a dearth of are these bands that are actually worth listening to, at least outside of the context of a drunken college town barroom.
.357 String Band, Bill Monroe, Dinosaur Truckers, Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Jason Isbell, Larry & His Flask, Review, Robert Ellis, Scott H. Biram, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, The Punch Brothers, The Stanley Brothers, Trampled by Turtles, Whiskey Shivers
maybe it took Nickel Creek’s separation to truly realize the virtues each player possessed, both as a listener, and for the player’s themselves. With lessons learned and life beyond Nickel Creek explored, they can come together once again to create fellowship through music and share it with an audience hungry from the seven year hiatus.
I come to the Sara Watkins world admittedly from the outside looking in. I wasn’t along for the ride when her previous band Nickel Creek blew up and made stars of its principals, principally mandolin maestro Chris Thile who now heads The Punch Brothers. Since Nickel Creek split into forks, some folks have been laying their silver down on which player will outmatch the other.
Is this a great bluegrass album? Of course not. But a great bluegrass album would also not be a vehicle to introduce a generation of people to Del McCoury, Kris Kristofferson, and bluegrass music in general. Is it the album that Dierks set out to make without commercial consideration or label meddling? I kind of think it is.
Alison Krauss, Bob Dylan, Chris Thile, Del McCoury, Dierks Bentley, Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell, Kris Kristofferson, Miranda Lambert, Old Crow Medicine Show, Sam Bush, The Punch Brothers, U2, Up On The Ridge