The Avett Brothers True Sadness album cover. Photo by: The Avetts Brothers
The Avett Brothers True Sadness album cover. Photo by: The Avetts Brothers

Diamonds Made from Coal

The Avett Brothers returned to the studio to produce the latest chapter of their lives with Rick Rubin once again.

True Sadness is their twelfth album overall, not including promotional EPs or live albums. The album was produced by Rick Rubin on his American Recordings label. Despite Rubin’s past success, I felt that The Avetts should have looked for another producer to give this album a new style of production.

‘Ain’t No Man’ kicks off the album with a joyful rhythm. The soul and resurrected energy stems at the center of the song. The lyrics showcase a romantic thread in most songs by The Avett Brothers.

The following two tracks are more downbeat. ‘No Hard Feelings’ featured an acoustic guitar and a depressing sense of a failed relationship. It reminded me of Weezer in the ’90s. The song did build nicely near the end.

‘Smithsonian’ calls back to lyrics from ‘Laundry Room’ on the album I and Love and You. On that album he mentions being a breathing time machine, and on True Sadness, he calls back to the desire and need to capsulate moments in time.

On ‘Satan Pulls The Strings’ I don’t feel the soul in the lyrics, but I do in everything else. Which translates for me as Rick Rubin or one of The Avetts trying to provoke the audience with a shit stirring title. This point hits home as the band sings about God in the title track ‘True Sadness’ with a beautiful fiddle on the song. The lyrical content seems to show signs of maturity in songwriting. As songwriters get closer to death, (which The Avetts are no where near), they start to contemplate death more in lyrics.

I find that if you still have air in your lungs, and blood pumping through your veins; that an artist should focus on the living and current issues. Not all artists are the same, and The Avetts redeem themselves with the last three songs on the album. ‘Victims of Life’ is a smart, witty and upbeat track. It is my favorite song on True Sadness. I felt like this album had pockets of creative bursts, but mainly was downbeat.

True Sadness is a patchwork quilt, both thematically and stylistically. Wherein a myriad of contrasting fabrics make perfect sense on the same plane, this album draws upon countless resources from its writers and performers. – Seth Avett

Despite focusing on a breakup, ‘Divorce Separation Blues’ provides yodeling and acoustic instrumentation to accompany the emotional setback in the lyrics. Overall, I find this album to be an extension of I and Love and You.


Tour Dates

Date | Venue | Location

JUL 4 2016 | THOMPSON’S POINT | Portland, ME

JUL 5 2016 | COLLEGE STREET MUSIC HALL | New Haven, CT

JUL 7 2016 | LANDMARK THEATRE | Syracuse, NY

JUL 8 2016 | CHAUTAUQUA AMPHITHEATER | Chautauqua, NY | Sold Out

JUL 9 2016 | TOLEDO ZOO AMPHITHEATER | Toledo, OH

JUL 15 2016 | FORECASTLE FESTIVAL | Louisville, KY

JUL 19 2016 | NORTHERN QUEST RESORT & CASINO | Airway Heights, WA with Grace Potter

JUL 21 2016 | EDGEFIELD | Troutdale, OR | Sold Out

JUL 22 2016 | EDGEFIELD | Troutdale, OR | Sold Out

JUL 23 2016 | SHOWARE CENTER | Kent, WA

JUL 25 2016 | FORD IDAHO CENTER AMPHITHEATER | Nampa, ID

JUL 26 2016 | RED BUTTE GARDEN AMPHITHEATRE | Salt Lake City, UT | Sold Out

JUL 28 2016 | RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE | Morrison, CO with Nahko and Medicine for the People

JUL 29 2016 | RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE | Morrison, CO with Gary Clark Jr.

JUL 30 2016 | RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE | Morrison, CO with J Mascis

AUG 12 2016 | PORTSMOUTH PAVILION | Portsmouth, VA

AUG 13 2016 | THE AMPHITHEATER AT CONEY ISLAND BOARDWALK | Brooklyn, NY

AUG 14 2016 | SANDS STEEL STAGE AT PNC PLAZA | Bethlehem, PA with Langhorne Slim

AUG 27 2016 | TØNDER FESTIVAL | Tønder, Denmark

AUG 30 2016 | O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE | London, United Kingdom

AUG 31 2016 | O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE | London, United Kingdom

SEP 2-4 2016 | ELECTRIC PICNIC | Stradbally, Ireland Sold Out

SEP 8 2016 | THE HOLMES CENTER AT APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY | Boone, NC

SEP 9 2016 | EXPRESS LIVE! | Columbus, OH

SEP 10 2016 | PEORIA CIVIC CENTER | Peoria, IL

SEP 15 2016 | WEILL HALL + LAWN AT THE GREEN MUSIC CENTER | Rohnert Park, CA

SEP 16 2016 | THUNDER VALLEY CASINO RESORT | Lincoln, CA with Brett Dennen

SEP 16-18 2016 | KAABOO DEL MAR | Del Mar, CA

SEP 20 2016 | BROOKLYN BOWL | Las Vegas, NV

SEP 22 2016 | CHESAPEAKE ENERGY ARENA | Oklahoma City, OK

OCT 2 2016 | ROOTS ‘N BLUES ‘N BBQ FESTIVAL | Columbia, MO

OCT 6 2016 | LANDERS CENTER | Southaven, MS

OCT 7 2016 | VERIZON ARENA | North Little Rock, AR

OCT 8 2016 | INTRUST BANK ARENA | Wichita, KS

OCT 11 2016 | GENESEE THEATRE | Waukegan, IL

OCT 28 2016 | JACKSONVILLE VETERANS MEMORIAL ARENA | Jacksonville, FL

OCT 29 2016 | BON SECOURS WELLNESS ARENA | Greenville, SC

OCT 30 2016 | SPRINT PAVILION | Charlottesville, VA

FEB 9-13 2017 | HARD ROCK HOTEL | Riviera Maya, Mexico
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The Avett Brothers – Ain’t No Man