I remember the first album I ever bought. Let me not age myself too much. I mostly tapes in my formative years as I was a kid of the 80s and 90s but there was one album, The Dirty Dancing Soundtrack. I literally walked out of the theater at Wheaton Plaza (before it was Westfield at Wheaton) right around the corner to the Waxie Maxies and bought it before the popcorn had even settled in my stomach.
I loved that thing but what I loved most was that I could pick up the needle and skip songs. I HATED tapes because you always had to fast forward them past bad songs and that took too long. I was completely elated when CDs came out. One button pushed and poof, I’m at the next song? Magic. Imagine the hyperventilation that came when iTunes was first introduced and I could make my own song mixes with the click of a mouse. Heaven, I tell ya.
So, I’m a bit of a music control freak. I blame it on my eclectic taste; I never like too much of any one thing.
That is until this summer.
This summer was the time for a few Brothers and some Sons to come and steal my heart with each and every track. Literally, every time I’m on iTunes I’m downloading just one more song from Mumford and Sons or The Avett Brothers.
Mumfords and Avetts are such a refreshing break from the mindless music that seems to dominate today’s airwaves. They have some fun songs, but mostly they’re musically and lyrically smart and vocally near-perfect. Wikipedia says the San Francisco Chronicle described The Avett’s as “having the “heavy sadness of Townes Van Zandt, the light pop concision of Buddy Holly, the tuneful jangle of the Beatles, the raw energy of the Ramones.”
That’s pretty much anything one could ask for in a band no? Both bands have songs that make you think and sometimes make you want to dance. They do everything good music should do: take you to another time and place and force you to feel something. Good, bad, happy or sad, you will feel something.
That is why I listen to the entire “artist” playlist without every pushing skip.
I can’t pick five of either to highlight. The Avett’s I and Love and You was big this summer but I’m not going to feature that because, as my brother learned last week, I almost never share the ones everyone knows. If you haven’t heard it, find it and listen. You’ll love it. There is a reason it was their breakout hit. I’m just not giving it to you here. Same with Mumford and Sons’ The Cave and Little Lion Man. Do not miss these songs. Trust.
Here’s what I got. Sorry if it’s overloaded. When you love them all, it’s hard to narrow down.
My Heart Like a Kick Drum– The Avett Brothers: This one is for everyone who says, “Oh, they’re country, I won’t listen to them.” This will change your mind.
Pretty Girl from San Diego-The Avett Brothers: This one is for everyone who listened to that first one and says, “Oh, darn I thought they were southern.” Here’s some banjo for ya. Also, listen to what they do in the middle with the tempo and steel drum. Love. Love. Love.
Perfect Space: The one that had me at hello. The best first two lines of any modern song. I’ll fight you over it.
Timshel-Mumford and Sons: Beautiful, if you can ignore the fur jacket. (Huh?)
Awake My Soul: I’m not sure I’d love it as much without his accent but sweet mother does that voice work for me.
Winter Winds: This one proves they can rock out a little too.
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Blue Flowers has me paralyzed. Ouch. It’s beautiful.