The bluegrass/newgrass envelope was updated and pushed by Nickel Creek. Mandolinist extraordinaire Chris Thile broke away for some solo excursions, returning with a quintet called The Punch Brothers, circa 2006. The group's third recording, Antifogmatic, shows their expansion of wooden music to not be slowing down. "Rye Whiskey" is a song in the tradition, but updated with a more complex harmonic structure. In the broad spectrum of bluegrass, this song would be considered neo- traditional; not pushing the envelope further in the direction of newgrass, instead consolidating the high lonesome territory. More traditional than Nickel Creek, and less traditional than Doyle Lawson.
Part of the Deluxe Edition release of Antifogmatic is four-song EP of instrumental music. Here, the group glides between classical chamber music and hot club jazz fare. This is where the evolution of the music is truly frightening in the breadth of its creativity. Thile is a wizard on the mandolin, making David Grisman, fine as he is, a memory. Thile, on his instrument, is comparable to Art Tatum and Joe Pass.
Personnel: Chris Eldridge: vocals, guitar; Noam Pikelny: vocals, banjo; Chris Thile:
vocals, mandolin; Gabe Witcher: vocals, fiddle; Paul Kowert: vocals.