Mumford & Sons gets a lot of the credit for bringing folk-rock back to the mainstream over the last couple years, but it was really The Avett Brothers who laid the groundwork for groups like The Civil Wars and The Lumineers. They were acoustic punks who brought as much energy as those during the alternative rock crazy of the early nineties but were able to it with a banjo, a cello, and an upright bass. Three years ago Rick Rubin was able to harness that energy and produced the best album of the band’s career with I and Love and You.
The Avett Brother reunited with Rubin with the follow-up The Carpenter and the results are the same. Songs range from the sweet (Live and Die), to heartfelt (Winter in My Heart), to a waltz (Down with the Shine), to frantic (Paul Newman vs. the Demons), to a hoedown (Geraldine). None of the songs reach the heights of the best songs on their previous album, but The Carpenter is still pretty solid as a whole.
They even have a rare electric guitar featured song Pretty Girl from Michigan, though it is not rare of them to sing about pretty girls because they have already dedicated a song to girls from Matthews, Raleigh, Locust, Annapolis, Cedar Lane, Feltre, Chili (my personal favorite), and San Diego. But the biggest chance the brothers Avett take is with A Fathers First Spring which flows like none of their songs have flown before. The song teeters on going into soft rock territory, but they manage to keep it closer to their sensibilities making it a stand out on the album.
Song to Download – A Fathers First Spring
The Carpenter gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.