This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #409: I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers.
The genre known as “Folk Rock” has had a long and storied history. It gained popularity way back in the 1960s, with groups such as The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, as well as, singers such as Bob Dylan. It has remained a popular form of musical expression through the decades and includes more current bands such as Bon Iver, Mumford and Sons, along wth today’s featured artists, The Avett Brothers.
“Folk Rock” is, essentially, a genre of music that focusses most on the storytelling nature of the lyrics and the vocal harmonies of the singers. While a band known as a “folk rock” band may have an actual lead singer, more often than not, they have multiple singers who use their voices as much like an instrument, as any guitar, piano or drum. The Avett Brothers consist of two brothers named Scott (vocals, banjo, piano, guitar and kick-drum) and Seth Avett (vocals, piano, guitar) who handle most of the singing chores on their songs. They, also, have a backing band consisting of Bob Crawford (bass, violin, backing vocals), Joe Kwon (cello, backing vocals), Mike Marsh (drums), Tania Elizabeth (fiddle) and Bonnie Avett-Rini (piano). The Avett Brothers are known for playing everything from Bluegrass to Punk to Folk but mostly, they are known for their incredible ability to harmonize in the Folk Rock style.
The Avett Brothers had toured for years in the late 1990s and into the mid 2000s and had established a, sort of, cult following among music fans, which had culminated in them being named as “Group of the Year” and “Best Emerging Artists” by the American Music Association in 2007 for their album called, “Emotionalism”. Their first major-label commercial release was an album called, “I and Love and You”, from which, today’s song was the debut single. The song became a Top Ten hit for the band but, one of the most interesting aspects of its release was how many different ways the band used to market their song.
First of all, the song was originally released for free on their website as a digital download. Radiohead had begun doing this as a way to circumvent the control that the music industry had over artistic expression. The Avett Brothers, among others, took notice and released “I and Love and You” on their own website first and invited fans to download it for free. Such exposure led to a word-of-mouth, groundswell of positive reviews. The band moved beyond its core audience by having the song released as a Starbucks/iTunes “Pick of the Week”. Finally, they toured and toured and made the rounds of most late night talk shows thus, bringing their music to a mass audience.
The chorus of the song speaks of “Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in”. It refers to a concert the band played in Brooklyn, NY, which, according to them, was the furthest they had ever played from their home, geographically, as well as, the calibre of venue they were in. That moment made them feel like they had reached a new level of accomplishment and respect and that they were ready to ascend to a new level of musical fame. If you have never heard this song before, you are in for a treat. It sounds lovely and tells a great story along the way. So, without further delay, here is “I and Love and You” by The Avett Brothers. Enjoy.
The link to the music video for I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers can be found here.
The official website for The Avett Brothers can be found here.
Thanks to KEXP for helping to inspire the writing of this post. A link to their website can be found here.