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The Second Gleam

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Album Review

With its full-bodied sound and rustic energy, 2007's Emotionalism helped transform the Avett Brothers into new icons of the progressive folk scene. The album also reached some highly influential ears — most notably those of veteran producer Rick Rubin, who signed the trio to his own American Recordings label in mid-2008. Before jumping to the big leagues, however, the Avett Brothers issued one last recording with Ramseur Records. The Second Gleam is a short and sober affair, dominated by the Avett siblings' songs about family, childhood, and death. Bassist Bob Crawford is nowhere to be found, which draws a deep line between this sparse, poignant effort and Emotionalism's sonic swell. But The Second Gleam doesn't try to be the official follow-up to Emotionalism, nor does it align itself with the ramshackle sound of the band's earliest work. Clocking in at 21 minutes, the six-song EP takes the Avett Brothers' most basic elements — banjo, acoustic guitar, melody — and dresses them up with warm, simple production. Had it arrived several years earlier, The Second Gleam would've been rife with mistakes and imperfect vocals, the product of a young band whose collective talents had yet to fully ripen. In 2008, however, it serves a nice reminder that the Avett Brothers do, indeed, deserve all the hype. Perhaps this is what Mr. Rick Rubin heard all along.

Biography

Formed: 2000 in Concord, NC

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The Avett Brothers' music has roots in traditional folk and bluegrass, but also captures the high spirits and no-boundaries attitude of rock & roll — which is appropriate, since rock is where Scott Avett and Seth Avett first cut their teeth as musicians. Although siblings Scott (vocals, banjo) and Seth (vocals, guitar) began making music together as children, their group's genesis began when they were members of Nemo, a rock band that gigged regularly in Greenville, North Carolina. Looking...
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The Second Gleam, The Avett Brothers
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