In their 16 years together, The Avett Brothers have been through a lot. From divorce to disease, there’s been a sense of melancholy that’s at times overshadowed the immense success of band members Seth Avett, Scott Avett, Bob Crawford and Joe Kwon. With the folk rockers’ eighth studio record, the group finds themselves contemplating some of the darker experiences they’ve had throughout their years together. If anything, the title of the album says it all: “True Sadness.”
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With the help of iconic producer Rick Rubin, the band took a different approach to the recording process. They stripped down the songs, recorded them, remixed them and recorded them again. Backed by a seven-piece band, bassist Bob Crawford says “True Sadness” is “new territory for us having a full-band and recording after hearing remix of recordings.
Over the years, the band has stuck together and poured their hearts, souls and hardships into their music. “True Sadness” is really a record that shows The Avett Brothers’ emotional maturity and penchant for songwriting that tears at your heartstrings. As the band reflects back through their music, they’ve experienced a lot — especially in the three years since their last record, “Magpie and the Dandelion.”
“We’ve seen personal tragedy with our families, divorce and the pain and suffering that it puts on a person, and we’ve seen amazing success in our careers — more than we ever could have imagined,” explains Crawford. “We’ve also found love and had children. The human heart and soul has the capacity to bring happiness, hope and joy, but at the same time, it’s in mourning when something sad happens.”
The Avett Brothers have never shied away from tinges of sadness throughout their music; if you’ve ever listened to “The Carpenter” or “Emotionalism,” you’d know this, but this seems to be the first time they’re leading with it. For Crawford, the band’s ninth studio album speaks to his own personal grief. His daughter has a brain tumor and has had cancer twice.
“She’s doing great now for all she’s been through, but I’ll always mourn what happened to her and what’s been taken from her,” he says. “For me, the concept of ‘True Sadness’ is, you reach a point in your life where you’re capable of experiencing the joy and the sadness at the same time.”