Review | The Avett Brothers - The Carpenter

[N]orth Carolina boys Scott and Seth Avett and their band of brothers delivered their seventh studio album this past Tuesday. Titled The Carpenter, the album is a collection of songs focused on the harsh realities of life while longing for that elusive “one more chance,” perfectly orchestrated around Bob Crawford’s talent at upright bass, Joe Kwon’s effortless cello, and Jacob Edward’s perfect timing on the drums.

The album’s opener, “The Once and Future Carpenter” is the type of jingle-jangle bluegrass song fans expect to hear, and the brothers deliver in full on those expectations. The song is a chilling one about accepting death, set against a banjo and guitar as Scott sings “And when the black cloak drags upon the ground/I’ll be ready to surrender/And remember we’re all in this together/If I live the life I’m given/I won’t be scared to die.” The other theme that runs throughout The Carpenter is love, both reciprocated and denied, as is found in the second track (and first single) “Live and Die” —a song about a boy trying desperately to make the girl of his dreams realize they were made for each other. One of the best tracks on the subject of love denied is “I Never Knew You” a 50’s doo-wop inspired number with perfect melodies and a foot-stomping bass. The joy and sadness that comes with being a new father while also in a traveling band is perfectly realized in the fantastic “A Father’s First Spring.” Further down the album, the brothers plug in and turn up the fuzz with the rocking “Paul Newman Vs. The Demons,” which finds the singer comparing his life and accomplishments against those of Paul Newman. A losing morality battle if ever there was one.

This is the second album produced by the great Rick Rubin, who produced the band’s breakthrough album I and Love and You. He was successful in taking the distinctly folk/bluegrass sound of the brothers, polishing it up for radio, and releasing hit songs. The Avett Brothers could have continued on without his help, forever on the outskirts of fame, but The Carpenter makes it clear how good a producer/band relationship can be when everything falls into place.

Buy The Carpenter