The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers

I and Love and You

Columbia Records

I and Love and You is nothing short of brilliant. Before I heard this album, I had heard exactly two tracks by The Avett Brothers; both live and both unabashedly raw. So when I heard that they were recording with über-producer Rick Rubin, I was very intrigued. He has transformed bands (Red Hot Chili Peppers), revived careers (Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond) and combined songwriting talent that no one else would have thought to bring together (Dixie Chicks and Dan Wilson from Semisonic). Rubin wanted The Avett Brothers’ songwriting to shine. So he virtually erased the folk-mayhem that the trio can create and focused on the lyrical goldmine that the band has, but only die-hard fans and those who have read their lyric sheets really understand.

“Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” is the perfect example of their words that are much better sung than screamed on the chorus, “There was a dream/ And one day I could see it/ Like a bird in a cage/ I broke in and demanded that somebody free it.”

“The Perfect Space” starts off as a melancholy song about, essentially, what he wants when he dies with nothing but vocals and piano. Then the album kicks into almost a musical-esque pop track where one of the sparse screams comes into play when he sings, “Okay, part two, now clear the house/ The party’s over/ Take the shouting and the people/ GET OUT!!” Then it goes into what I picture to be a bunch of drunk people swaying and singing the chorus in the ultimate “Kum-ba-yah” moment.

The title track is simply one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. The chorus is like a calling from the soul: “Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in/ Are you aware of the shape I’m in/ My knees, they shake, my head, it spins/ Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in.”

The bluegrass “January Wedding” contains the lyrical gem, “I was sick with heartache/ And she was sick like Audrey Hepburn/ When I met her.”

I and Love and You is the perfect Americana album with The Avett Brothers’ and Rick Rubin’s fingerprints all over it. This may take a couple of listens for long-time Avett fans, but they will appreciate how beautiful this album is. Plus, it will bring a new legion of fans and bring the Brothers to the mainstream, which is where they belong.

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