The Avett Brothers

By KURT B. REIGHLY  |  October 27, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
In country music, blood ties evoke an era — the days of the Carter Family, the Monroe Brothers — when making music in the parlor was everyday entertainment. Comprising Avett siblings Scott and Seth plus Bob Crawford, this trio tap into that association via stripped-down instrumentation (guitar, banjo, upright bass), spirited vocal harmonies, and rustic yet contemporary originals. But these 17 selections, recorded at an isolated domicile in western North Carolina, are more “cabin fever” than “home sweet home,” zigzagging through disparate moods, often within the same cut. “Pretty Girl from Feltre” starts out with just solo sotto voce and piano, then abruptly spikes the dynamics way into the red. At 74 minutes, the album covers a lot of ground: “Distraction #74” rolls along like a jaunty update on “Oh, Susannah” whereas the desolate “Sixteen in July” recalls the indier folk of Iron & Wine. The Brothers’ restless spirit guarantees that if one song displeases, the next will delight . . . or at least dumfound.
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