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The Avett Brothers

The Second Gleam – 2008 (Ramseur)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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The Avett Brothers first gained recognition for the trio's raucous live shows, combining bluegrass traditionalism with the energy level of punk rock. In 2005, they released a mellow acoustic disc, "The Gleam," which showed a more gentle side of their songwriting. This is a sequel of sorts to that EP, and it follows a similar melodic, all-acoustic format.

Amid all the pent-up hoopla surrounding the Avett's live shows and more upbeat material, these types of songs have been present in bits and pieces on previous albums. Collected in one small but powerful bunch, however, their impact is strikingly amplified. From the growing up tale of "Tear Down The House" to the dark song of devotion "The Greatest Sum," and the sweet story of new, unexpected life "St. Joseph's," the songs travel a delicately finger-picked path beneath the raw, exposed emotions of the brothers' voices.

While their signature sound will always be the louder songs, these acoustic sets are welcome interludes between otherwise boisterous blasts.