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Interview:
Avett Brothers built on lessons learned for latest album
 

By GARY GRAFF
For Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

The Avett Brothers might have felt "a little bit out of our element" on 2009's "I and Love and You" -- the North Carolina roots rockers' first Top 20 album -- but they were considerably more comfortable with the tools of the trade for last year's "The Carpenter."

"With 'The Carpenter' we felt like we had our sea legs, that point where you've been in the boat awhile and don't feel like you're going to throw up any more," Seth Avett, who co-founded the group during 2000 with older brother Scott. "The songs felt more developed, and we felt more capable of getting them to where they needed to be.

"We feel like we were able to get what we hoped for and do what we needed with the songs in a really comfortable and thriving environment."

The Avetts felt so assured, in fact, that they helmed for "The Carpenter" themselves, relegating "I and Love and You's" Grammy Award-winning producer Rick Rubin to more of an executive, oversight role. The group recorded primarily at home, with some work in L.A., though it did make use of West Coast session hands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer and Detroit native Chad Smith and keyboardist Benmont Tench from Tom Petty's Heartbreaks.

The result; a No. 4 debut on the Billboard 200 in September.

"On 'I and Love and You,' Rick was right on top of us, in the studio with us every day -- which was cool. It's what we needed at the time," Avett, 32, says. "We felt like ('I and Love and You') was boot camp, and with this record Rick was like, 'Hey, I trust you guys. Do your own thing.' We stayed in contact and he gave us feedback, but it was really much more in our hands, which we liked."

The Avett Brothers perform at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Hill Auditorium on the U-M campus in Ann Arbor. Tickets are $45 and $35. Call 724-761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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