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The Carpenter

4.6 out of 5 stars 282 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 11, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

2012 album from the critically acclaimed North Carolina Folk-Pop-Rock band. Produced by Rick Rubin and recorded in North Carolina and Malibu, the record follows the group's 2009 breakthrough release and celebrated major label debut, I And Love And You. That album reached #16 on the Billboard Top 200 and received rave notices from press. Blending Bluegrass, Folk and Punk with a Rock 'n' RoII attitude, the quintet, led by brothers Seth and Scott Avett, continues to pen poignant and powerful songs on this new release. The Carpenter includes several of the group's signature harmony-driven acoustic ballads, but the brothers also get boisterous on tunes.
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Digital Booklet: The Carpenter
Digital Booklet: The Carpenter
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 11, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: American Recordings
  • ASIN: B008OM7A4K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (282 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,557 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Sometime after 2000, bluegrass and folk music started to experience a revival - bands were springing up from all parts of the western world playing music that was influenced by folksy do-it-yourself songwriting. It would be hard to say that the Avett Brothers aren't at least partly responsible for this uprising. The band has been around since the early 2000's, releasing 6 full-length records since their inception (among a ton of other releases) - their latest release is not only the 7th for the band, but it's also the second with Rick Rubin helming production duties. Rubin, who's worked with everyone from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Jay Z to Johnny Cash, helped the band shave away some of their grittier aspects to make way for the infectious melodies of 2009's I AND LOVE AND YOU. 2012's THE CARPENTER finds the Avett Brothers continuing where they left off.

If I had to describe the Avett Brothers' sound, I'd say it falls somewhere between the blue-grassy stained Old Crow Medicine Show and the indie-sensibilities of Mumford & Sons. The album begins with "The Once and Future Carpenter," a song that relies on the band's trademark Americana lyrics. Following the first track, the album hits it's groove with three fantastic songs in a row ("Live and Die," "Winter in My Heart," and "Pretty Girl from Michigan.") The second track, "Live and Die" serves as the lead single promoting THE CARPENTER. It's an upbeat track, but it's defined by its dominant melody - it's a song that will be hard to get out of your head with lyrics to match: "Can't you tell that I am alive? Let me prove it to you." The next track, "Winter in My Heart" is one of the more somber tracks on the album.
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The Avett Brothers albums in my mind since Mignonette have been epic. This is epic. This is Avett. This is, however, quite different and more akin to I and Love and You.

Its been a while, three years I guess since their last album, and as they sing in "February Seven", "they are rested and ready to begin". What you get is a lot of really intricate and powerful ballads that are stripped down and intimate but more often laden with cello and piano than in the past. February Seven and Fathers First Spring are probably my favorites, but Winter in My Heart is soooooo lonely and intense.

While there are numerous ballads on this album, you do get some more classic-ish Avett uptempo songs that, for better or worse, you will wake up singing. If its any song on the album, I bet you $1 it will be the Live and Die. In fact the simple melody, and banjo play will have you singing along EVEN WHEN YOU DONT KNOW THE WORDS. Its like magic. Pretty Girl in Michigan is different, almost some type of throwback doo-wopish type song that I'm struggling to pin, but its catchy. Geraldine and I Never Knew You also more upbeat.

The one song that I am really curious to hear what long time Avett purists say is Paul Newman vs. The Demons... um, its more electric than anything they are used to, that I promise.

What you don't get in this album are raucous and edgy vocal front songs, and you don't get as much banjo. You get DEEPER far more intricate songs with more cello and piano, but lyrically... super solid, but I'm still digesting this.

If you liked I and Love and You, you are going to like this. Its somewhat like someone took your oldest most comfortable jeans and took a few minutes updating them with a bedazzler. You can still feel Avett, and the color is the same but its just a little different, with a little different sparkle.

Definitely worth a shot. Thanks for the read.
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So, I fell in love with the Avett Bros. about 3 years ago. It started with "I and Love and You" on the radio, which piqued my interest, but I didn't do anything with it. Then my brother, who incidentally is the person who seems to introduce me to most of my favorite music (Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Phish, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, DMB. etc., etc.), had to have heart surgery and while we were there in the hospital, his wife kept talking about the Avett Bros. and how much Cory loved them. It was only after I dug into it that I realized this was the same band, so I promptly went out and bought "I and Love and You". Now, I know for many fans, that album was a bit of a let down. Too polished, over-produced; a departure from the raw, invigorating sound that was the Avett's I would come to know through the Gleam albums and Emotionalism. However, I thought "I and Love and You", while polished, was still a great album with beautiful lyrics and real emotion.

Now comes "The Carpenter"; yet again produced by Rick Rubin - polished, clean, pretty, almost poppy. On some level you had to expect it. Bands, like the people they are comprised of, change, mature and grow in directions that their fans don't always follow (I don't remember the last time I bought a DMB album, for instance, but that doesn't mean I don't love their old stuff still). This album is a little more mellow, and has the distinctive finger print of the talented Mr. Rubin on it. Part of me really yearns for a return to Emotionalism's unfiltered feeling. The sound that your ear instinctively knew said, "Hey, this is us, mistakes and all and it's part of what makes us great."

That said, I can't really knock the album too much. With exception to the Banjo (MORE BANJO! I miss it terribly! One song? One??? Come, on guys!
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Topic From this Discussion
Album now on NPR First Listen
Thank you! It's working and it's so nice to hear it first.
Sep 10, 2012 by A. Burrows |  See all 2 posts
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