The Avett Brothers  » Music  »
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  • I was, however, not entering into a DJ collection of sampled Hendrix songs or going to see the quivering jowls of the Who in stymied action
  • With I and Love and You, the group seems to have struck a banjo note at the heart of the American public, and the band will undoubtedly find a wider following of more diverse musical taste, as they continue to mutate musically and pursue musical iconicity

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      When I stepped out of the warm summer night into the Pearl Street Nightclub in the quaint village of Northampton, Massachusetts, my expectations were set at an unattainable height, as if I were entering the gates of Max Yasgur’s farm in August of ‘69. I was, however, not entering into a DJ collection of sampled Hendrix songs or going to see the quivering jowls of the Who in stymied action. I journeyed to Pearl Street that night to rejoice in the nurturing harmony of the Avett Brothers, a group I had simultaneously discovered and fallen in love with 2 months earlier.

      My expectations for the set were promptly trounced, and my ears appealed to my senses as never before as the delectable sounds of Scott and Seth Avett’s instrumental bliss floated within and lingered in my eardrums. Their fearless combinations and experimentations with country, folk, bluegrass, pop and a raw energy to rival any early 90’s grunge band,


      complete with a very talented cellist and stand-up bassist and a vocal harmony to rival that of Lennon/McCartney justified every legendary description formulating in my mind.

      After that night, I fervently scoured the band’s discography, and found that the band has released 13 albums, the entirety within this decade, and listening to every song from the very first (”Kind of In Love With You” from the first studio album, The Avett Bros. ) to the last song (”Incomplete and Insecure” from the latest album, I and Love and You) it appears that the band has come full circle, and they very nearly have.

      Their earlier works, beginning in 2000 with The Avett Bros. , show a bluegrass background, with charming banjo and acoustic guitar melodies and retrospective lyrics of the country variety.

      In 2004, the band released Mignonette, a collection of mostly love songs, with more complex riffs and intriguing, affectionate poetic lyrics delivefred through a shared singing responsibility by both Seth ...


      • and Scott Avett. In 2006, the breakthrough album Four Thieves Gone: The Robbinsville Sessions was released, showcasing an unbridled energy in addition to wider experimentation with the piano, harmonica, kick drum, different bass guitars and more sophisticated recording practices.

        The song “Colorshow” is a liquor-soaked scream at the sky, with a ferocious banjo lick, steady bass drum kicks and a similar screeching of vocals and harmonica alike, a trademark song that is an incredible joy to witness at a live performance by the group. Shortly after Four Thieves, The Gleam EP was released, a reflective group of songs that contrast and accompany the full-length released in the same year, with a larger focus on acoustic harmonics and self-interrogating lyrics.

        The band has since put out the albums Emotionalism, The Gleam 2 and I and Love and You, in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively. These albums show the group heading in an oh-too musically congested direction, as they lean more

        towards the pop spectrum, with cleaner guitar playing, pop-addled anthem-style singing, an introduction of electric instruments and drum sets, as well as a heavy interest in the piano and classical string instruments.

        With I and Love and You, the group seems to have struck a banjo note at the heart of the American public, and the band will undoubtedly find a wider following of more diverse musical taste, as they continue to mutate musically and pursue musical iconicity. The group has thus far managed not to compromise their country and bluegrass roots, though as they become more comfortable within the pop genre, we may see a large leap into a pool of pop complacency or a stripping down of roots to produce a cleaner image.

        I offer only one piece of evidence to these foreseeable possible outcomes: The brothers’ trademark thick beards have already disappeared.




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