Folk rock outlet The Avett Brothers have been in the business together for just over a decade, though it wasn’t until just recently that the North Carolina boys that should became the North Carolina boys that would, charting as high as #4 on U.S. album charts upon the release of 2012’s “The Carpenter,” featuring hit single “Live and Die.” Now, with high hopes that lightning can strike twice for the brothers Avett and company, the boys’ 2013 effort, “Magpie and the Dandelion,” has been released. Directly following the infinitely compelling “The Carpenter” is a hard place to be in for anyone, but if anyone could do it, it’s the lush sounds of the folk-rocking collective who crafted it in the first place. Featuring “Another Is Waiting,” “Magpie and the Dandelion” is available in its entirety for a free listen via an NPR stream right here, which you can listen to as you read along. It is also available on iTunes for $13.99 and $9.99 , respectively, depending on the version which you would like to pick up.
There is something about any modern release as rootsy as an Avett Brothers record that tends to intrinsically instigate nostalgic feelings into its listener. Then again, it could be argued that folk music has always had that special relatable quality which had fit the genre well into the mid-20th century when it had first truly flourished on the radio. Either way, if there’s anything that The Avett Brothers has been thus far in their careers, it’s consistent, remaining true to the sound that they had dedicated themselves to since the beginning. At the same time, however — and “Magpie and the Dandelion” proves this more than anything — the boys know how to change things up well enough so that they won’t be deemed as stale, though without ever being untrue to themselves and who they are as a band.
Album opener “Open Ended Life” offers up a wisely-arranged listen with a naturally smart lyric and delivery that gradually builds itself up instrumentally until an all-out rollicking jam comes around, exciting audiences while transitioning effortlessly into the relentlessly sweet “Morning Song.” “Magpie and the Dandelion” offers up 11 tracks that are full of a comfortable down-home sound and soul that are a joy to listen to again and again, from beginning to end. This is especially when it’s heard as a collective entity, offering up a timeless and masterfully-told tale of true love, heartbreak, and the lessons taken in between it all to anyone willing to listen. For fans of their older work pre-“Carpenter,” there’s plenty to chew on here as much as there is for newer audiences. Without a doubt, if you’re a fan of folk or just great songwriting in general, you need to do yourself a major favor and give the incredibly heartfelt “Magpie and the Dandelion” a good listen… or a million.
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