Folk

Here's What Happens When Folkies the Avett Brothers Work with Rick Rubin

Blood is thicker than water, but for the Avett Brothers, music is thicker than blood. It's not just a moniker -- Scott and Seth Avett really are related, and they've been playing together since they were kids. But 2000 was the year they started releasing their signature blend of fervent bluegrass and folk. Fifteen adventurous years later, the North Carolina indie rockers have released four EPs and eight full-lengths (with another on the way), earned a Grammy nomination, played a few late-night TV guest spots, and have been heard on shows like Parenthood and One Tree Hill.

But if one attribute stands out over the Avett Brothers' varied career, it's that they are gentlemen. Their approach to soulful, traditionalist Americana is stark yet rich, sometimes sarcastic, often existential. But their technique is especially unique in the light of their contemporaries, because it is unambiguously honest.

Stylistically, the Brothers are all over the place. "If It's the Beaches" reflects on not deserving forgiveness, and on "Murder in the City," they preach graceful nonviolence over revenge. They are metaphorically overwrought on "The Ballad of Love and Hate," yet tender and romantic on "January Wedding." In fact, they've got a lot of love songs, but this one explains it best why they succeed: "She keeps it simple / And I am thankful for her kind of lovin' / 'Cause it's simple."

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Troy Farah is an independent journalist and documentary field producer. He has worked with VICE, Fusion, LA Weekly, Golf Digest, BNN, Tucson Weekly, and Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Troy Farah