The country is awash in Americana fever as scores of rock-radio favorites dabble in the sounds of yore. It's part of a search for authenticity when so much pop is heavily synthesized, and partially a need for the warm, fuzzy blanket of an imagined yesteryear. Though it might be cute, many of the current banjo-picking types fail to elevate their style beyond gimmick. A huge exception is the Avett Brothers, a North Carolina act helmed by, yes, brothers Scott and Seth. Sure, they're nominally folk-influenced, with their relatively stripped-down, deeply earnest sound and penchant for things like harmonicas. But what sets the Avetts apart is a serious, genre-defying talent for songwriting. Their melodies soar and stick, regardless of the folksy window dressing.
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