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on September 9, 2007
This is a talented band of brothers. Simple acoustic guitars,piano and banjos complement the strengths of the lyrics and the delivery. They employ judicious use of passionate crescendo and artful silences. The band sounds like it had fun recording this music, and it shows, especially in tracks like "Will You Return?"

Fans of the blending of country, folk, bluegrass and alternative rock will enjoy this band. One might label this what I call "NewGrass," in the tradition of calling new folk music "Neo-Folk."

Fans of Christopher Denny, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Will Oldham/Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Johnny Cash will feel right at home with the Avett Brothers. They deliver the same feelings of earthiness and authenticity.

And listeners will be pleased by the variety of melodies from track to track. This is definitely not the kind of band whose songs blend together in one boring, unabbreviated album. Instead, each song has its own character, its own story and distinct allegiance to the themes of love, sorrow and tribulation.

At times, the vocals seem derivative of My Morning Jacket, and even a touch of Weezer (Die, Die, Die). But in fairness, The Avett Brothers have crafted their own sound worthy of recognition.
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on May 24, 2007
Wow. I was really taken aback after listening to this cd for the first time. This cd is quite a musical change for the Avett Brothers, but it is definitely in the right direction. There's a lot of familiar and unfamiliar things going on here. However, the vocals are stronger than ever, the lyrics smart, and the instrument playing is extremely polished. There's even some drum work and piano! I've been an Avett fan since 'A Carolina Jubilee' and it's been interesting to hear the musical transitions from new release to new release. This is definitely the boldest! "Pretty Girl from Chile" and "Salina" are fine examples of the boys' willingness to explore new territory. If you were passionate about the Avett Brothers' previous release 'The Gleam', then you'll be all over 'Emotionalism'!
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on May 16, 2007
This is the best group out there.

Their shows are always a good time, without fail, but not just a good time....there's substance to these guys and a charming sincerity in everything they do.

Nothing beats a live show, but you won't be disappointed just listening to a cd....all of a sudden you'll come back to your senses and realize there's a smile on your face.

Thank God for people like this.
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on December 19, 2007
I first noticed the Avett Brothers at a big Americana festival, and I had no idea who they were. At the time, their EP had just come out (Gleam), and so after being amazed by the huge energy they had on stage, I decided to spring for it. It was a lot softer and more thoughtful than the live performance. Turns out it was better than I'd hoped. Emotionalism is a spiritual successor to Gleam, in fact some of the songs seem to be obvious "sequels" to the EP tracks. This makes both discs more valuable to me from an emotional standpoint. Now on to this album, Emotionalism.

I can honestly say I've never heard a band rock so SOFT and with so much ABANDON at the same time. The lyrics are thoughtful and deeper than they might at first appear, but the more you listen, the better appreciation you have for the gifts of these guys. The harmonies are raw and thick and powerful. A couple of songs ("Will You Return") borrow heavily from the Beatles' chord progression book, but the homage is appropriate. The Bros. have managed to capture in lyrics and sound a feeling that I think defines the generation of kids born around 1980 or so. The "Emotionalism" of this album aligns exactly with the way I feel a lot of the time.

I've been turned off more and more by not only "pop" music but "alternative" as well. In the 90s, alternative music was my sanctuary from the stuff on top 40 radio. Now it is the other half of top 40 radio, blending painfully well with hip-hop and dance music. I started moving away from this a few years ago, and somehow I've ended up in what can only be called alt-bluegrass. Apparently people are calling this "newgrass," and that's fairly appropriate. Mandolins and banjos and acoustic bass seem to dominate the CDs of the music I'm increasingly drawn to.

If you're in the same boat, I recommend strongly two artists: The Avett Brothers and Chris Thile.

I can (and have) listen to Emotionalism and Gleam over and over. I'm not that kind of music listener! I rarely listen to the same thing twice in a month, much less in a day. But this band has forced me to make an exception.

I don't see how anyone could dislike this album, so if you're on the fence, just go ahead and buy it. You WILL like it. If you don't, maybe seek counseling?
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on June 15, 2007
I first heard of the Avett Brothers a few weeks ago when they were featured on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition. The song NPR played to introduce the listeners to the Avett Brothers was "Living of Love". After hearing this song I was so intrigued with the superb melody, vocals and lyrics I immediately wanted to hear more. One listen to the Avett Brothers' new album "Emotionalism" and you will too!

While the theme of "Emotionalism" is love in all forms (lost, found and even paternal), the music styles are as diverse and interesting as can be. Styles that range from the Beatles-esque "Will You Return" to the Spanish Flamenco of "Pretty Girl From San Diego" and include Blues, Country, Classical, Hillbilly and Rock. All the songs are wrapped in beautiful melodies and have wonderful harmonies. The lyrics show wit and inteligence. All of these elements combine to make this album very accessable and easy to listen to.

This is a great album and I hope more people outside North Carolina (the Avett Brothers home) find it and enjoy it as much as I do. I found it quite by accident. I'm just lucky, I guess.
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on May 20, 2007
The title "Emotionalism" is very appropriate for this album that evokes feelings of sadness, love, hurt, passion... It's beautiful lyricism mixed with grand melodies and harmonies are unmatched. They have mixed in strings and electric this time, which make the songs that much more unique and REALLY hard to stop listening to. This is definitely an all-time top 10 favorite record for me.
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Not much to say except this is the last indie album made by the brothers from North Carolina, before they signed to Sony. It is a real work of beauty in that it has beautifully well crafted songs. They blend old style Americana with tales of love and loss and all that life throws at you. The simple belnd of banjo, guitar and piano with heart breaking harmonies is so well put together, that the only way to do it justice is to hear it.

It opens with a fast paced number in `Die, Die, Die' and track 2 `Shame' is one of my all time favourite songs with a delivery so good it is almost meaty. Taking the food analogy further this is actually a smorgasbord of themes and styles. `Ballad of love and hate' is a live favourite and unwraps itself slowly and lyrically in the kind of way they just don't write no more.

They always have a track entitled `Pretty Girl from..' and there are two on here being `..from Chile' and San Diego and both work to keep the pace and tempo flowing at just the right rate to keep your interest. . There are 14 tracks here and seriously not a duff one anywhere. My personal favourites are `All my mistakes', the rocky `Paranoia in Bb Major' and the closing number ` Hand me down tune'. I really do love this band and can say if you get a chance to see them live do not pass it up. They actually have three live albums too and some of the tracks from here feature on Vol 3 as it is known. If you are new to The Avett Brothers this is as god a place as any to start.
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on December 3, 2007
One day while listening to Folk Alley dot com on the net (excellent site) I heard a track from Emotionalism and my ears perked up. Spot on harmonies and the words, now that was something to pay attention to. What caught my attention was the insightful dialogue known as "The Ballad of love and hate". So totally unlike the Leonard Cohen dirge about the same subject, this was a fascinating dialogue spoken in the voices of the emotions of love and hate as they tried to hash out an unending conflict. I found a great deal of depth of insight in this particular song and it is worth contemplation when you're singing along.

These two guys are obviously talented musicians and although this is a new group to me, I will certainly cherish this album and look to buy others. Very impressive and I'm sure they are worthy of more exploration. Terrific album.
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on December 12, 2012
I'm late to the game with this album, but it doesn't get much better than this.

I got turned on to the Avett Brothers after seeing them live this summer, and after getting "Live and Die" stuck in my head, I decided to buy this album. Having listened to most of their others, I think this is their best. It's right where they start to go from wild and energetic bluegrass to a more polished, refined folk sound. After this album, the Avett's seem to have gotten a bit too mellow, so this is the sweet spot.

The songs themselves are absolutely brilliant. I think of them as an American folk version of the Beatles with the memorable memories and strong harmonies. From the opener Die Die Die through The Ballad of Love and Hate, it's a great stretch of songs that range from poppy and upbeat to emotional. It drops a bit then picks up with the amazing All My Mistakes through I Would be Sad, another great stretch of songs. The last few drop off a bit more but that's fine.

Sonically, the album is a bit raw and has a nice balance of crispness to a lively sound. Probably my favorite of the albums of theirs I've heard, where the early ones are too raw and unpolished and the newer ones are a bit too perfect (although the Carpenter has a wonderful mix, I and Love and You was a bit dark and dead for my tastes). Maybe this is because my first exposure to them was the live show.

Typically I'd only give five stars for an album that I feel is "perfect" all the way through, but the quality of the songs are so high than they transcend the lesser tunes. I've recommended this album to many people this year and many fell in love with it as strong as I have.
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on May 21, 2015
One of the Avett's better albums before the labels got involved. Honest and from the heart, this band was so much better before Rick Rubin got involved. Rick is an amazing Producer, this band should have said no thank you. They are fantastic without his input. Buy this album!
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