"A mix of country harmonies, modern bluegrass, and serious rock 'n' roll"—Rolling Stone
Like so many great American bands, North Carolina's Avett Brothers are hard to classify musically. In the words of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, they're "a band that exploits the tensions between the rustic Old South and the cosmopolitan New South, between rootsy bluegrass and rowdy punk rock, between reverence and irreverence." The brothers shift from quiet balladry to power chords, sometimes within the same song. And their mix of styles is not a gimmick or novelty but comes out of a deep-seated drive to encompass all the impulses of Southern music and American music—sentiment, tradition, transgression, transcendent intensity. The Avett Brothers teamed up with legendary producer Rick Rubin (Tom Petty, Johnny Cash) for the the gorgeous album "I and Love and You," which they presented in a Friday-night headliner appearance at the 2011 Ann Arbor Folk Festival.
The Avetts have had a hard core of fans ever since they appeared in the North Carolina roots underground in the early 2000s, but "I and Love and You" proved to be their breakthrough. The album peaked at number 16 on the Billboard 200 album chart and resulted in an invitation to perform alongside Bob Dylan and Mumford & Sons at the 2011 Grammy Awards. Rick Rubin returned for the group's seventh studio album, "The Carpenter," which is at number four and rising. Says Stephen Thompson of NPR: "'The Carpenter' carries serious thematic weight — fully half its songs address death in some way or another. But there's still an appealing sense of lightness to it, whether in the lilting 'Down With the Shine,' the churning rocker 'Pretty Girl From Michigan' (the latest in a long line of The Avett Brothers' 'Pretty Girl From [Place]' songs), and playfully stompy rave-ups like the 97-second 'Geraldine.'"