The Avett Brothers have returned with their new album Closer Than Together, and judging by the subject matter, there are a lot of things on their minds. On the band’s 10th full-length release, they try out an all-new formula: focusing on its folk roots with subtle stabs at politics. Says Seth Avett in a statement: “We recorded some sociopolitical songs but didn’t want to commit to making a sociopolitical record.”
Committed or not, over 13 songs, the North Carolina band offer not-so-subtle takes on gun violence, racism, and explore American history in a way that it has not before. There are also more familiar-sounding songs, like the stomper “High-Stepping”, and the slow-burning “Better Here” where the band asks, “Where can I go that I won’t end up lost again?”
“Closer Than Together is a record of obvious American origin – a creation that fittingly could only come about through hard work, measured freedom, awe-inspiring landscapes, and perfectly flawed individualism,” Seth Avett continued.
Marrying their folk and Americana aesthetic to this American moment, then, is not a completely out-of-step direction for the band. Here’s the full note on the album’s release and intention.
It’s also a deeply personal album, focusing on marriage, birth, and, ultimately connection. By album’s end, the band charters more familiar territory. On “Who Will I Hold”, over a banjo, they ponder what one may assume is moving on.
“You slipped through my hands
Like I did through my mama’s
Like a river that passes
The rocks that it’s on”
It’s a brave place for The Avett Brothers to navigate, and it also can be a consoling one. Combined with their gentle twang, the Avetts remind us on Closer Than Together that we are in this thing together.
The Avett Brothers Closer Than Together is The Colorado Sound Album Of The Week. The Avett Brothers play Red Rocks on July 10, 11, and 12, 2020.