Exclusive: The Avett Brothers Move Up the Food Chain with I and Love and You

Exclusive: The Avett Brothers Move Up the Food Chain with <i>I and Love and You</i>
An art gallery in Manhattan may not seem the most likely venue for a CD launch party for a trio of roots-based North Carolina musicians, but the choice of the Envoy Gallery did make sense for the the Avett Brothers.

"The original paintings of the art from the record are on display there," Scott Avett tells Exclaim! the day after the event late last month. "We were in New York doing Letterman and press, so we did the CD release party and a meet-and-greet there."

The powerful portraits that adorn the recently released album, I and Love and You, are actually painted by Scott, and his artwork is featured in the deluxe box set version of the new album.

"This is the first time we've ever had anything other than a CD," says bassist Bob Crawford. "We've got the vinyl album and a box set, and even a seven-inch single for 'Slight Figure of Speech.' At the release party, it was cool for people to talk about the different formats and what they loved about them, like the favourite prints from the box set they wanted signed."

The multi-format release of I and Love and You is one more sign that the career of the Avett Brothers is in fast ascent. They built a loyal grassroots following by touring extensively behind four previous independent albums, but they jump to the major leagues with I and Love and You. It's produced by superstar producer Rick Rubin, who saw enough potential in the group to sign them to his American Recordings label.

"As soon as I heard the depth in their singing and songwriting, I was in for the ride," said Rubin in a statement. "The Avetts' songs have such a sincere emotional resonance. The purity of the messages stops you in your tracks."

Prior to forming the Avett Brothers in 2001, Scott and singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist brother Seth fronted a neo-punk band named Nemo. Back then, Rubin-produced albums by the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Beastie Boys were amongst their favourites.

"If someone had told me then that we'd get to work with Rick Rubin, I wouldn't have believed it," says Seth.

Adds Scott: "If somebody had said, 'It'll take you eight years to do it,' I'd have gone 'really?' I don't know if I'm up for that!'"

I and Love and You is out now on American Recordings.