In a letter penned by Seth Avett, Grammy Award®-nominated collective THE AVETT BROTHERS revealed today that they will be releasing their new album, Closer Than Together [American/Republic Records], on Friday, October 4, 2019. Read the mission statement for Closer Than Together here and below. The first single from the record “High Steppin’” was also released today along with its official music video.
The mission statement touches on the inspiration behind the upcoming album, pulling from feelings about the current state of the world and observations reflected from the band’s own experiences. Seth Avett describes, “The last thing the world needs is another piece of sociopolitical commentary… We didn’t make a record that was meant to comment on the sociopolitical landscape that we live in. We did, however, make an album that is obviously informed by what is happening now on a grander scale all around us…because we are a part of it and it is a part of us…The Avett Brothers will probably never make a sociopolitical record. But if we did, it might sound something like this.” Read the full letter below
The video for “High Steppin’” shows Scott Avett as a “rhinestone cowboy” and Seth Avett as what some could describe as “death” as his passenger. The two ride together and encounter a stop in the road where Bob Crawford and steppers are waiting for them. In a spoken word interlude Seth Avett notes that “you can only live one day at a time, only drive one hot rod at a time, only say one word at a time, only think one thought at a time….” A meaningful commentary on life that finishes with a hopeful ending.
Heralding the album’s impending arrival, THE AVETT BROTHERS continue on a string of tour dates throughout the year including three sold out nights at Red Rocks, The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles (August 22nd), and performances at Bonnaroo, Mountain Jam, and more. Not to mention their recently announced (and sold out) The Avett Brothers at the Beach four night festival in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, February 27-March 2nd. See their full tour dates here: www.theavettbrothers.com/tour
MISSION STATEMENT: CLOSER THAN TOGETHER
The last thing the world needs is another piece of sociopolitical commentary. We, as a species that boasts at least some semblance of consciousness, are entering an odd new form of fatigue: one that encompasses not only our observance of the behavior of others (nefarious and otherwise), but also our seemingly unlimited endurance to loudly judge and wax philosophically about it. Of course, in each instance, regardless of its nature or circumstance, our own personal opinions are presented as the clear, correct, and only perspective on any given subject. We speak as if we are not one body, though we are. We judge as if we don’t value the judgment of others upon us, though we do. We forget to put our feet into the shoes of our neighbor, and curse them for making the same ancient mistake.
My brother and I have never been more aware of our own failings in the department of golden-rule navigation. We see it in ourselves and we are accustomed to seeing it in our neighborhood, our state, our country, our planet. We speak daily with each other about the lunacy of the world in which we live… the beauty of it, the mystery of it, the hilarity and the unspeakable calamity of it. We talk about God and community and evil and what forgiveness is and what it means to aim for unconditional love in a land (and body) full of conditions. Sometimes we feel better just from speaking about it with a loved one. Sometimes we don’t and we go to our little bunks on the tour bus and continue to process the latest example of fear-inducing news that our phones have indiscriminately handed us. We then simultaneously endeavor to forgive ourselves for being in the fortunate position of having bunks in a tour bus to lie down on. In whatever way we process both personal and universally-affecting events, at some point, these conversations grow melodies and find themselves stepping back into our lives in the forms of songs.
As our records tend to be, the newest – entitled ‘Closer Than Together’ – is certainly led by the personal narrative of our own lives. In this way, there is no massive departure from our continued artistic language. This chapter however, perhaps in part because of our age or our time, wanders inevitably into hallways both social and political. These are songs developed through and inspired by not only what we see inside our homes and our travels, but by the connections we are blessed to nourish, the conversations by which we are surprised and intrigued, and by the far-reaching experiences of our distant brothers and sisters. We are family men with good and evil in our hearts, and the pains and joys in this world are mirrored on the small scale of our own personal existence. The songs herein are reflections of what we are. ‘We’ meaning Scott and me. ‘We’ meaning this family and this band. ‘We’ meaning the strangers we’ve had (and will have) the honor of encountering all over the world. ‘We’ meaning ‘We the People’.
We didn’t make a record that was meant to comment on the sociopolitical landscape that we live in. We did, however, make an album that is obviously informed by what is happening now on a grander scale all around us…because we are a part of it and it is a part of us. ‘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.
The Avett Brothers will probably never make a sociopolitical record. But if we did, it might sound something like this.
-Seth Avett (Summer 2019)
The Avett Brothers made mainstream waves with their 2009 major label debut, I and Love and You, landing at No. 16 on the Billboard Top 200 and garnering critical acclaim. 2012 saw The Carpenter hit No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200 and was followed by Magpie and the Dandelion (2013) which debuted at No. 5 on Billboard’s Top 200 and saw the band appear twice on Jimmy Kimmel Live! True Sadness (2016) achieved The Avett Brothers’ highest career debut to date hitting No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Albums Chart, No. 1 Top Rock Albums Chart, No. 1 Digital Albums Chart, No. 3 on Billboard Top 200, and scoring two GRAMMY®nominations. In the same year, the band was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. In 2017, the band released their critically acclaimed documentary May It Last: A Portrait of The Avett Brothers, which was co-directed by Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio. The film followed the band as they wrote their GRAMMY® nominated album True Sadness. The film was released theatrically and on HBO to rave reviews and critical acclaim and will be available on DVD/Blue-Ray in June 2019 (available for pre-order now). In November 2018, the band headlined the concert for Hurricane Florence Relief in Greenville, North Carolina, raising $325,000 to help those affected by Hurricane Florence. Coming soon Swept Away – a new musical inspired by and featuring the music of The Avett Brothers – will have its world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in June 2020. Recently, they released three new songs “Roses and Sacrifice,” “Trouble Letting Go” and “Neapolitan Sky” in anticipation for new music in 2019.
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