Preview to the Avett Brother’s CD, I and Love and You.

by Carole Perkins

Preview to the Avett Brother’s CD, I and Love and You. Release date Sept. 29, 2009

Since signing to record label American in July 2008,the Avett Brothers have not rested. They’ve been theopening act for Dave Matthews Band, recognized asa Best New Artist to Watch by Rolling Stone, gracedthe cover of Paste magazine, been approved byOprah Winfrey, mentioned in Vanity Fair, extolled bywriter John Grogan of Marley and Me and actor RainnWilson who plays Dwight Shrute on NBC’s “The Office.”Their new CD, I and Love and You, is the magnum opus thatcould catapult the Avett Brothers into notoriety with GrammyAward-winning producer Rick Rubin spit-shining and polishingharmonies and orchestrations to lip-smacking perfection.Paradoxically, the glory of worldly fame is not celebrated in I andLove and You. The onus to perform and the inevitable vicissitudesof success resonate in the lyrics, ruminations of weary travelerswhose peregrinations have left them disillusioned and exhausted.Ten of the 13 songs lie heavy as wet wool blankets sodden withthemes of self-doubt, loneliness and the ugliness of greed.

While Scott Avett plays banjo in only three songs, his twangypicking is distinctive and succinct. Joe Kwon delivers exemplaritycello performances as notes weave and linger with etherealluminosity.

Seth Avett’s guitar adroitly channels velvety classicssuch as James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain.” And Bob Crawford’sthunking stand-up bass anchors the tracks.

The Avett Brother’s 2007 Ramseur Records produced CD,Emotionalism, serves as harbinger to I and Love and You.The title track implores Brooklyn to take them in, much asEmotionalism’s “Salina” where they are “down on their knees”for Kansas.A heavy piano solo, shades of the Beatles’ “Let It Be,” accompaniedby a stellar cello performance by Joe Kwon opens thesong.A return to more traditional Avett roots is Seth’s endearing lovesong, “January Wedding.” Scott’s banjo converses with guitar ala the prelude to “Dueling Banjos” before diving into a crashingcrescendo of strings and snare.“Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise” commences witha powerful hymnal style piano baseline and sinuous cello notes.Rat-a-tat drums shake the fourth track, “And It Spead.”Abruptly, the din is softened with gentle guitar and Seth’s sunnyvoice.“The Perfect Space” is part mournful symphony and part fulloutrock with Scott’s wistful voice singing:

“I wanna have friendsthat I can trust that love me for the man I’ve become not the manthat I was”“Ten Thousand Words” is a brilliant epic featuring heartwrenchingchord changes and a light guitar melody. Seth’simpeccable harmony floats like a summer sheet over Scott’sgravely voice.With a signature chortle and caterwaul, Seth lightens the tonewith “Kick Drum Heart.” He borrows a stuttering ruse fromEmotionalism’s “Will You Return?” and a dash of Jamaicanlacedflavor from “Pretty Girl from San Diego.”Thump…thump thump thump….thump thump the song endswith the kick drum sounding like a heartbeat.While watching Scott whip the crowd into frenzy in a liveshow, beckoning with his arms to “take you all for a ride” is avery different experience than listening to the smoother moremelodious version of “Laundry Room,” though it is no less titillating.The band kicks their heels up at the end in an unexpectedhodown circa 2003“Ill with Want” summons a piano funeral dirge with Scott conjuringshades of Gram Parsons.

“Tin Man” makes the cut to CD with it’s a smoothly orchestrateddrum and guitar set.“Slight Figure of Speech” accelerates the mood with a fast pacedguitar rhythm reminiscent of Elvis at a clambake with bikini-cladgirls dancing the jerk. Inserted in the middle is a stattcato raptingedrefrain similar to “Talk on Indolence” from Four TheivesGone — The Robbinsville Sessions.“It goes On and On” is Seth’s sincere sonnet imbued with astrong Darling influence (Seth recorded three CDs under thename Darling in the bedroom of his childhood home in Concord.)The last track, “Incomplete and Insecure,” features Scott’s voiceserrated with discouragement accompanied in sympathy byKwon’s cello. Scott’s reference to his insecure nature is in directconflict to Emotionalism’s “I Would Be Sad” lyrics where hesings about his “easy confidence.” The Second Gleam’s song“Murdered in the City” is also given a nod to lyrics in this songwhere Scott acknowledges the value of family.

I haven’t finished a thing since I started my life/ I don’t feelmuch like starting now/ walking down lonely has worked like acharm I’m the only one I have to let down.Veteran Avett fans raise your arms in a collective cradle, a moshpit to bolster Scott, Seth, Bob, and Joe. Then rejoice and wrapyour arms around the new Avett Brother’s converts that I andLove and You will hook. Welcome them to Avett Nation, it’s theperfect space to gather and celebrate. !