12 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Punch Brothers’ picker, Noam Pikelny, branches out on his own for the first time since his 2004 debut, In the Maze. His 2011 sophomore outing, Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail, further emphasizes his five-string prowess. It’s a talent so awesome it prompted Steve Martin to award Pikelny the first Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music and landed him a spot on The Late Show with David Letterman. Martin joins Pikelny here on a rendition of the Appalachian standard “Cluck Old Hen.” The sprightly opener, “Jim Thompson’s Horse,” kicks off Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail as Pikelny’s fingers dance dexterously up and down the fretboard, slowing to dance with a mandolin as a stand-up bass keeps things grounded. “My Mother Thinks I’m a Lawyer” follows with a tinge of Tin Pan Alley–inspired sass before Crooked Still’s Aoife O’Donovan pipes in on “Fish and Bird” with a lilting vocal reminiscent of Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins. Speaking of Nickel Creek, Chris Thile joins in the fun on “Bear Dog Grit.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Punch Brothers’ picker, Noam Pikelny, branches out on his own for the first time since his 2004 debut, In the Maze. His 2011 sophomore outing, Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail, further emphasizes his five-string prowess. It’s a talent so awesome it prompted Steve Martin to award Pikelny the first Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music and landed him a spot on The Late Show with David Letterman. Martin joins Pikelny here on a rendition of the Appalachian standard “Cluck Old Hen.” The sprightly opener, “Jim Thompson’s Horse,” kicks off Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail as Pikelny’s fingers dance dexterously up and down the fretboard, slowing to dance with a mandolin as a stand-up bass keeps things grounded. “My Mother Thinks I’m a Lawyer” follows with a tinge of Tin Pan Alley–inspired sass before Crooked Still’s Aoife O’Donovan pipes in on “Fish and Bird” with a lilting vocal reminiscent of Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins. Speaking of Nickel Creek, Chris Thile joins in the fun on “Bear Dog Grit.”

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