Punch Brothers – STOP/WATCH

“Silky” isn’t a term often used to describe bluegrass yet it’s applicable for Punch Brothers‘ 60-second rendition of “New York City,” a single from this year’s eclectic album Who’s Feeling Young Now? Co-written by frontman Chris Thile and cult singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, the original’s dense banjo twang and violin riffs drown out Thile’s vocals. But in the shortened version, with less time for instrumental flexing, Thile’s soulful vocals drive the late-night breakup song with slight assistance from a slinky violin line. The song’s jazzy elegance — a trait only hinted at in Punch Brothers’ previous work — feels composed for a neon skyline rather than a campfire.

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