The Avett Brothers perform in The Current studio

The Avett Brothers perform "True Sadness," the title track off their new album live in The Current studio. (MPR Video / Nate Ryan)
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The Avett Brothers perform in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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  • The Avett Brothers perform in The Current studio (full session + interview) 26:23
  • The Avett Brothers - Smithsonian (live on 89.3 The Current) 04:45
  • The Avett Brothers - Ain't No Man (live on 89.3 The Current) 03:48
  • The Avett Brothers - True Sadness (live on 89.3 The Current) 04:36

The Avett Brothers' new album, True Sadness is their ninth full-length studio release, and it comes out on June 24, 2016. That said, the album has kind of been in the works for quite some time. "I think we were going as far back as Seth and I had been writing songs," Scott Avett explains. "We always, when we decide to get together and share ideas, we open our entire personal catalogue of melodic ideas, lyric ideas, concepts, choruses, verses, anything. Several of these songs were ideas that go as far back as 2004, 2005, ideas that had just been around."

In town to play a show at the Target Center with Brandi Carlile, the Avett Brothers stopped at The Current studio for a session hosted by Mac Wilson. The Avetts plan to play a number of songs from True Sadness ahead of its release, and Seth explains that the band put a lot of thought in to crafting their set lists. "If someone's coming to a show and they really only know one record, it's likely that they're only going to hear one song they know," he says. "The meaning of 'new song' is very flexible with us. It feels like a lot of times we're presenting songs from Four Thieves for the first time, like they're brand-new songs even though we've been playing them for over a decade. I know we're playing the majority of the new record, but it's just as important to us to make sure that someone who fell in love with The Carolina Jubilee still gets one moment in the set."

The name of the new album, True Sadness, hints at the band members' deep reflections on an interesting dichotomy in life. "I don't think it's a secret that we discuss mortality a lot, and we discuss what a lot of people consider the darker side of existence," bassist Bob Crawford says. "We go to those darker places, but we kind of don't look at them as being necessarily dark places because they're very universal places, and they're places we all go to. I think having to talk about this concept of 'True Sadness' over the past couple months, it reminded me of something somebody said to me recently … how you get to a point in your life, by your 40s or 50s, you have experienced great tragedy … but the human heart is large enough and capable enough to exist at any moment holding that tragedy and being reminded of it constantly, but at the same time experiencing great joy on a daily basis. For me, 'True Sadness' is being able to walk around in this world though my life being able to honor the tragedy but experience the joy at the same time."

Listen to the full interview with the Avett Brothers to hear more about the band's work with producer Rick Rubin — True Sadness is the fourth album on which they've worked with Rubin — and about the evolution of the album's lead single, "Ain't No Man."

More Video

Band Members


Scott Avett, banjo
Seth Avett, guitar
Bob Crawford, bass
Joe Kwon, cello
Tanya Elizabeth, violin
Paul Defiglia, keyboards
Mike Marsh, drums

Songs Performed


"Smithsonian"
"Ain't No Man"
"True Sadness"
All songs from the Avett Brothers' album, True Sadness, which releases June 24, 2016, on American Recordings.

Hosted by Mac Wilson
Produced by Lindsay Kimball
Engineered by Michael DeMark and Andrew Brassard
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Luke Taylor

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15 Photos

  • The Avett Brothers 6
    Scott Avett of the Avett Brothers in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 8
    The Avett Brothers perform in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 1
    Joe Kwon and Scott Avett of the Avett Brothers in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 2
    Cellist Joe Kwon of The Avett Brothers in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 3
    Scott Avett (right) and Joe Kwon in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 4
    The Avett Brothers' drummer Mike Marsh in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 7
    Scott Avett and Bob Crawford of the Avett Brothers in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 9
    Tania Elizabeth, Joe Kwon and Scott Avett of the Avett Brothers performing in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 11
    Keyboardist Paul Defiglia and the rest of the Avett Brothers perform in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 12
    Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers, portrait by Nate Ryan. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 13
    Joe Kwon of the Avett Brothers, portrait by Nate Ryan. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 14
    Joe Kwon of the Avett Brothers, portrait by Nate Ryan. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 15
    Joe Kwon of the Avett Brothers, portraits by Nate Ryan. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 16
    Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers, portrait by Nate Ryan. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • The Avett Brothers 17
    Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers, portraits by Nate Ryan. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)

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