Our regular KINK Community contributor of concert and album reviews, Cynthia Orlando, says the new Avett album is probably one of the best CD's released thus far this year.
Fine craftsmanship makes "The Carpenter" a standout
The long-awaited newest work of the Avett Brothers, "The Carpenter" was released earlier this month and it's as well-rounded and satisfying as anything they've done to date. Which, since we're talking about The Avett Brothers, means it's probably one of the best CD's released thus far this year.
It opens with "The Once and Future Carpenter," a traveller's lament of sorts sung with plaintive, superlative harmonies. A colorful, toe-tapping narrative imbued with superior guitar strumming and stand-up bass, it's sung with feeling, a great arrangement that all works together to pull us into the storyline. Nice going, guys.
More exceptional songwriting in the form of "Live and Die" - the Americana hit single KINK listeners and announcers have been enjoying - follows. With the clear, convincing lead vocals of Seth Avett, jovial banjo, great drumming and percussion, you won't be able to resist turning up your earbuds, or dancing to this playful powerhouse of a song.
Although they've been releasing studio albums since 2003, it was "I and Love and You," released in 2009, that garnered the band more of the public spotlight, and a bigger fan base. The group recorded "The Carpenter" primarily at home in North Carolina over the course of the last year. It must've been a rollicking and rocking good time; some tracks, like "Pretty Girl from Michigan," "Geraldine," 'Paul Newman Vs. The Demons," and the rambunctious "I Never Knew You," have a harder rock sound than their folksy "I and Love and You."
On the other hand, selections like the folksy, anti-materialistic and fun-loving "Down with the Shine," or "February Seven," a song about recovering from life's slings and arrows, would fit right in. And undoubtedly, the tender fatherly feelings expressed in their melodious "A Father's First Spring" would have sounded right at home on their last release as well. Come to think of it, "A Father's First Spring" could sure sound good on the radio right now, too...
The acoustic, pensive "Through My Prayers" is a confessional of apology and regret, and as honest a song as any: "Down in my mind where I don't care to go / The pain of a lesson is letting me know / If you have love in your heart, let it show while you can." Good lesson, that.
Making music together since childhood
The Avett Brothers are Scott and Seth Avett, who have been making music together since childhood and play banjo and guitar, respectively, as well as Bob Crawford on stand-up bass. Besides banjo, Scott Avett plays guitar, piano and drums and sings lead vocals; brother Seth excels on piano and drums, and sings lead vocals, too. Touring members of the band are Joe Kwon, cello, and Jacob Edwards, drums. Much to the delight of their many long-time fans, the band played a superlative setlist this summer at McMenamins Edgefield, including several tracks off the new release.
"The Carpenter" finishes with the quiet, somber and contemplative "Life." It's a lovely harmony-laden melody that imparts just the right combination of reflection and closure.
While the new release is a slight departure for the band with a tad more rock n' roll flavor, by and far it retains much of the same style and feeling of their last work, which is to say that in all probability "The Carpenter" will help The Avett Brothers amass yet more listeners. It's currently #9 on Billboard's 200 list.
Are The Avett Brothers lucky to be attracting so many new followers, or are the fans lucky to be finding The Avett Brothers? Either way, serious music fans will want to add "The Carpenter" to their music collection.
Still not convinced? Hop onto iTunes and give a listen to the first and second tracks; if you like those, lend an ear to "Through My Prayers" and "A Father's First Spring." The new CD is also available at Starbucks.
The band is currently on tour and will perform at Austin City Limits October 14.