These have been getting posted a little later because I have been doing work during the day so my apologies. Also, if you are interested in purchasing any of my rock photos or other photos check out my shops on ETSY and REDBUBBLE. You can also follow me on Facebook for updates and on Twitter for moronic musings. Sales pitch finished, here’s my number 5:
#5 – The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter
The Avett Brothers took a slight departure from their usual poppy brand of alt-country/bluegrass. With the sadness that hangs over them, like a dystopian mistletoe, as they deal with the illness of bassist and member of the band since the beginning Bob Crawford’s daughter. These are not a group of musicians that get together play music then go their separate ways to count their money. This is a group of money that are family and if you listen to this beautiful record that family is hurting.
Even some of the songs like “I Never Knew You” which sounds eternally upbeat, but isn’t. When you dive into it, you realize it’s a bitter anthem to breaking up and disappointment. When you listen to “Winter in my Heart” and it’s almost off key style and again delve into the lyrics you realize the pain that comes from this song.
A million colors fill my eyes
The Roman candles and the stars
Calendar says July 4th
But it’s still winter in my heart
They say flowers bloom in Spring
Red and Golden, Blue and Pink
They say seasons turn in time
Theirs our changing, why won’t mine?
This is attributable to a little two year old girl that to this day still fights for her life. They say the best art is created in the worst circumstances and I’ve found that to be quite true on numerous occasions. Now, the album isn’t all gloom and doom, but one of the main reasons I love this album and their previous one for that matter, is the production by Rick Rubin and the lyrical content have both improved tremendously. I am not ashamed to say I have been a fan of this band since their second or third album. I don’t feel being a fan of a band makes one a unabashed cheerleader. In fact, I think oftentimes fans are the most critical, because expectations are always so high. I remember the first time I heard them I was in a car with a few buddies on our way to watch a movie in a Hollywood cemetery. I think it was Brazil by Terry Gilliam.
This is also the first time they’ve recorded their classic live track “Down with the Shine”. It was on one of their live albums, but has never been studio recorded before. I have loved this song from the moment I heard it at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with my little sister a few years back. This is a defining album for this band, they still have that playful energy that they exhibit at every show, but there is a maturity that exudes from this album that was just starting on the last one and we only had rare glimpses of previously.
When they recorded “Murder in the City” a few years back (my favorite Avett Brothers song) it showed that they were on the precipice of growing, but they weren’t quite there yet. When they did I & Love & You, I was taken aback at first. It was kind of like (nerd moment) went Matt Murdock in the Daredevil comic books gets sensory overload. They went from very little emotion to a great deal and with this record they have clearly found their sweet spot. The fact that the general public is either unaware or ignorant of the greatness this band has after so many albums is a shame.
The Avett Brothers are simply getting better and better. As we all keep Bob Crawford’s little girl in our thoughts we take time out to recognize that from the pit of their despair they have created a wonderful album that hopefully years from now Bob Crawford’s daughter can look back and think about the people that really loved her.