Press Play, Repeat: Punch Brother’s All Ashore

This post is part of a series of everyday posts for Blaugust. If you’d like to know more, click here.

By chance the other night we were driving, no intention of going straight home but no other destination either. After dinner, I had queued up a quick playlist of “New Releases” On Google Play Music. Most of the songs were okay, but when Punch Brother’s “All Ashore” came on, mixed in with the quiet night drive and neighborhoods I had never seen before, it was perfect.

Diane didn’t find it to her tastes though she agreed with me about the quality of the song’s musicality. It has a relaxing appeal and an introspective charm that pulls you into its depths. I won’t pretend to say I know precisely what the lyricist intended with its imagery, but between the pickin’ and the singin’, I feel something deep within me stir.

I imagine many of my friends would hear this and say, “That sounds like your kind of music!” It wasn’t always though. As a kid, my dad used to drag me to various bluegrass festivals. In truth, they were little more than places for fans of that kind music to gather in their RVs and drink amongst kindred spirits. I remember being put in charge of concessions, which was great because no one cared when I grabbed a Snickers for myself.

Despite this “experience”, I didn’t take to bluegrass though I have come around more in the last five years or so.

After “All Ashore” I had to hear more of this album. A good friend of mine is a big fan of Punch Brothers, yet previous attempts to get me to listen to them didn’t. “All Ashore”, both the song and the album, was the exact opposite: for the last week+ this is the only thing I have listened to. Press play, repeat.

It is a far more progressive album that you might imagine at first listen. Take, for example, their song “Jumbo” which may or may not refer to a certain World Leader’s son of the same name:

I did a little research on this one, which led me to a truly awful review that, like all music reviews, used more words of such a size and complexity that even a philosopher would sweat at trying to get them past her editor. I didn’t have to make an account to comment though because everyone disagreed. This album is perfect and “Jumbo” is one of its best ear worms.

My absolute favorite track though is “It’s All Part of the Plan”, a rumination on power in the modern world. I enjoy music with a message and the song seems to me to be about the devil being replaced by elite businessman. Some of you out there may blush at the blatant class warfare, but I find it difficult to argue with lines like:

Write me a law and I’ll rise above
And give me hell and I’ll make a hell of a deal

Here you go:

What album(s) have you all been using to cope with 2018?



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