At first glance, it might seem that G Love and the Avett Brothers are a bit of an odd pairing. A musical commonality, some sort of sonic middle ground, isn’t readily apparent when you consider that G Love has spent a decade defining hip hop blues and Seth and Scott Avett are the current darlings of the indie-folk-rock movement.
But scratch a little deeper – or just take a listen to G. Love’s recent release, Fixin’ To Die – and you will find that the brothers Avett and G. Love are, indeed, kindred musical spirits.
Recorded in Asheville, North Carolina, under the guidance of the Avetts – who also play on virtually every track on the record – Fixin’ To Die is a collection of tunes that, while still bluesy, is more country than hip hop. Each tune conjures the image of . Love returning to his busking roots on the streets of Philadelphia; while more than adequately fleshed out by the Avetts, among others, each of the songs is ready for a single man and his acoustic guitar. There is a simple beauty in that.
Stand out tracks include the title track, punctuated by echoing hand claps and G. Love’s mournful harmonica, the ragtime feel (and delightfully wicked metaphor) of “Milk and Sugar,” and G. Love’s interpretations of Bukka White’s “You’ve Got To Die” and the fantastic banjo break in Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To leave Your Lover.”
Fixin’ To Die is my frontrunner for collaboration of the year. Here’s hoping that G. Love, Scott, and Seth get together sometime soon and do it all again.
Fixin’ To Die is out now on Brushfire Records.