Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile - This acoustic "super group" is led by 26-year-old uber mandolinist Chris Thile, the former member of Grammy winning Nickel Creek who issued his first solo recording when he was 13. Of Thile, a "Washington Post" critic recently said, "he may well be the most virtuosi American ever to play the mandolin." But the rest of the Punch Brothers' lineup is equally as impressive. Guitarist Chris Eldridge was a founding member of the Infamous Stringdusters and occasionally sits in with his father's band, The Seldom Scene; bassist Greg Garrison has played with trumpeter Ron Miles and Leftover Salmon; banjo player Noam Pikelny has collaborated with the likes of John Cowan and Tony Trischka; and violinist Gabe Witcher has recorded with Willie Nelson, Beck and Randy Newman and played in dobro master Jerry Douglas' band for six years. The Punch Brothers debut, "Punch," features a Thile-penned 40-minute, four-movement suite titled "The Blind Leaving the Blind.
Paddy Casey - One of Ireland's biggest stars, singer/songwriter Paddy Casey's last release, "Living," went 12-times platinum in Ireland. Described by one writer "as if Bob Dylan had taken to imitating Nina Simone with elements of Prince and Public Enemy thrown in for good measure," Casey spent years busking on the streets of Galway and his hometown of Dublin. Signed to Sony, his 1999 debut "Amen (So Be It)" debuted in the Top 20 of the Irish albums chart, eventually going triple platinum, and was awarded the "Best Debut Album award.” His Dylanesque protest song "Sweet Suburban Sky," was featured on the TV show "Dawson's Creek." In 2007, Casey released his third studio album, "Addicted to Company, Pt. 1."
X1 - Hailing from Ireland, this quintet is currently the darling of the Irish music press - and with good reason. Made up of the former members of Damien Rice's band Juniper, Bell X1's third release, "Flock," debuted at No. 1 on the Irish charts in 2005 and eventually went five-times Platinum and now ranks one of the top-selling Irish releases ever. The band's music touches on styles ranging from dark rockers to soaring anthems and simmering chill out grooves.
Brooke Miller - A native of Prince Edward Island, off Canada's eastern seaboard, Brooke Miller was raised on celebrations that drew on Celtic and Acadian traditions. After her third grade music teacher gave her a guitar, Miller entered competitions around the Maritime Provinces where her band would come away with gold and silver medals. She began penning her own tunes when she was 10. After forming a punk band called Bleek when she was 12 (and opening for bands like Modest Mouse), she began exploring other musical styles, from acoustic finger-picking to jazz. Her debut is titled "You Can See Everything," and features her husband Don Ross, an award-winning finger-picker and Narada recording artist.
Tyler Ramsey - The music of this Asheville, NC, native draws from both folk and acoustic blues. Ramsey combines aspects of John Fahey, Norman Blake, and Mississippi John Hurt while vocally recalling Neil Young circa Buffalo Springfield. Best known for his delicate, finger-style guitar picking, Ramsey is also a formidable talent on piano, bass, percussion and vocals. Recently, Ramsey signed on as the guitarist for South Carolina's Band of Horses.