Though fans of "new-grass" mourned the split of Grammy-winning trio Nickel Creek when they announced their indefinite split in 2006, the silver lining came with the side projects of virtuosic mandolin player Chris Thile. Thile's first post-Nickel Creek band came with the How to Grow a Band, which Thile assembled for his fifth studio album and included the membership of fiddler Gabe Witcher, guitarist Chris Eldridge, banjo picker Noam Pikelny and bassist Greg Garrison. According to Thile he wanted an outfit that was "aesthetically a bluegrass band," but one with enough range to pull of the bafflingly intricate, multimovement song suites that he was writing. After a couple name changes, the How to Grow a Band were rechristened the Punch Brothers, and they debuted at Carnegie Hall in March 2007. Their first album, Punch, was released on Nonesuch in February 2008 and was followed by wide touring.