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The Avett Brothers

Mignonette – 2004 (Ramseur)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers, a North Carolina trio, is gathering a quickly expanding following with its spirited and good-natured mix of bluegrass, country and rock. "Mignonette," the follow-up to last year's acclaimed "A Carolina Jubilee," takes it name from an English yacht that sank in a storm off the coast of Africa in 1884. Cannibalistic seamen and a too-honest-for-his-own-good captain go along with the story, which has inspired the Avett Brothers to carry the "overall theme of truth" throughout the album.

With or without that little bit of background information, listen to "Mignonette" and you'll hear the band's gift for emotionally honest songs that are often humorous and touching at the same time. And the sweet harmony vocals and gorgeously crafted melodies make you swear you've heard songs like "Signs," "Please Pardon Yourself" and "The New Love Song" somewhere before, perhaps on an old Louvin Brothers record.

Fans of the Avett's "pretty girl" series of songs needn't worry; they continue it here in fine fashion with "Pretty Girl at the Airport," "Pretty Girl from Cedar Lane" and "Letter to a Pretty Girl." Other standouts include the Old 97s-esque "A Gift for Melody Anne," the working man tribute "Hard Worker" and "One Line Wonder," which includes the great line, "I was a one line wonder in my own love song." "Mignonette," which clocks in at more than 70 minutes, is a pleasure and a refreshing spin on traditional-based music.