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Song Premiere: The Avett Brothers, 'Another is Waiting'

Courtesy of the artist

It hasn't even been 11 full months since The Avett Brothers released The Carpenter, the North Carolina band's most recent collection of poignant and infectious, bluegrass-inflected folk-rock. And, given the lengthy touring cycle that each major album release generally spawns - the Avetts of last month's Newport Folk Festival with songs from The Carpenter - fans had no reason to expect new music this year.

And yet here we are, on the brink of another full-length Avett Brothers record, titled magpie and the Dandelion, due out Oct. 15. For fans accustomed to two- and three-year waits between albums, Magpie and the Dandelion's very existence comes as something of a surprise - and you don't even have to wait at all to hear the first single from the record, "Another is Waiting." You can stream the song here or tune in to one of NPR Music's many public radio staiton partners airing the song exclusively throughout the day.

In just a shade more than two minutes, "Another is Waiting" accomplishes everything an Avett song should: Fueled by sweet banjo strums, it's catchy, concise and sweet, with a thoughtful and subtle message about rejecting shallow pursuits and staying open to emotional connections with others. So much of what's lovable about both the band and this song, and so much of what separates The Avett Brothers from other folk-rock acts, revolves around the group's persistent lyrical fascination with living a noble and meaningful life. "Another is Waiting," like the Avetts songs before it, reaches farther than it needs to - and accomplishes more as a result.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)