The Avett Brothers, Emotionalism (2007)

I bought this album when it came out last May and haven’t stopped listening to it. Trying to describe the music of The Avett Brothers is difficult. While they are firmly rooted in bluegrass this trio also demonstrates influences as far from bluegrass as the Violent Femmes. On iTunes their genre is listed as “Unclassifiable,” which is probably just how the band wants it.

Emotionalism is a bold declaration of their willingness to embrace (you guessed it) emotions. A quick glance at track titles such as “Shame”, “Living of Love”, and “I Would Be Sad” make this embrace quite obvious. Many bands would fail miserably with this task by falling into sappy sentimentalism, but The Avett Brothers manage to pull it off with near perfection. In “The Ballad of Love and Hate” they make their final conclusion about emotionalism clear: Love conquers. The songwriting of is superb and while their lyrics range between seriously contemplative and lighthearted, they are always meaningful. Go buy this CD; in fact, go buy every album these guys have put out. You won’t regret it.