The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers


The Avett Brothers are, in a way, a traveling celebration. They take the stage in a kind of whirlwind of movement, three guys playing five or six instruments at all times, all singing, all stomping, all dancing in an erratic yet rhythmic, watchable yet contagious step.


The Avett Brothers of Concord, North Carolina are Scott Avett, age 26, and Seth Avett, 22, and Bob Crawford, 32. The trio plays old-time, foot stompin', front and back porch mountain music with shades of country and a rock-n-roll attitude. The band features Scott on banjo, lead vocals and stomp drum, Seth on guitar, lead vocals, stomp cymbal and piano, and Bob on stand-up bass and backing vocals. This vocally driven outfit delivers harmonic punch with true conviction in the same manner as the Louvin Brothers or the Everly Brothers.

The Avett Brothers have been called a traveling celebration. As much as this is a great compliment, it is also an apt visual of their live performances. In a broad sense, they look exactly like that, a celebration. There are composed of only three, but they always play 5 or 6 instruments simultaneously, existing on the stage in a kind of rhythmic whirlwind. There is a ragged wildness about their shows that musically charges the foundations of more lively, erratic, and boot-stomping music. The second dimension of the celebration is the aspect of celebrating life itself, with the intention of encompassing its less than lively aspects; the parts like sadness, and heartache, weakness, and regret. These things find their way into the live shows as authentically as the feverishly strummed, up-tempo anthems; both have the ability to plow through a crowd in three minutes and stick to their ribs long after they've shuffled out of the venue.
The raw intensity will remain a constant trademark as Bob Crawford says, "What can be said, without reserve, is that we put everything we have into our shows, and this is what we will continue to do."

Their energy, emotion and artistry are captured on their seminal album effort, Mignonette, the newest recording to be released July 13th on Ramseur Records by Sony Red. Mignonette, penned collectively by the band, is just under 74 minutes long. An album of this scale is ambitious in any forum. For most musical efforts this long, the immense sacrifice is quality for quantity. There is, however, no sacrifice that decreases the artistic merit of this Mignonette. While not a concept album in the traditional sense, the inspiration and guide was the album's namesake, the story of the Mignonette. Author Neil Hansen paraphrased the tale for the Avetts' album. In essence, in 1884, an English Yacht, the Mignonette, sank in a storm off the Coast of Africa. After 19 days on a small dingy, the four survivors ate the weakest crewmember as hundreds of shipwrecked seamen had done before them. Five days later the remaining men were rescued and one insisted on telling the truth oh what they had done. Refusing to lie regardless of the personal consequences, the man freely confessed. The English Government sentenced the crew to death on a sole piece of evidence: that man's confession. The new album hopes to offers a musical statement in honesty. The Avett Brothers elaborate, "It's not to say that all the songs are literally about truth, but we hope that a notion of truth will be felt by whoever listens to it. To us, it seems that this is a feeling that comes across in all the best music, in all the music that stays in a person's heart. It is this honesty that gives someone an actual love, a bond with a song, or with a record. Mignonette is an album that carries an overall theme of truth. In some parts, there are specific passages relating directly to it."

Mignonette is irreverent mixture of bluegrass, pop melodies, folk, rock n' roll, and honky tonk, but it is the thread of honesty that ties this aggressive acoustic sound and defines the band that is grappling with its noble pursuit. For example, the closing track on the album, "Salvation Song", contains a chorus, which speaks to an extremely universal audience. The lyric takes on the immense task of declaring a purpose, attempting to give solid answers as to why we live at all: "We came for salvation. We came for family. We came for all that's good. That's how we'll walk away. We came to break the bad. We came to cheer the sad. We came to leave behind the world a better way." Seth Avett ruminates, "These lines are approaching the most honest, stripped - down manner in which we could describe our desire, the things that matter to us, not only as a band, but as living, breathing people. There are other, even more direct lines in the theme of honesty on the album."

On the 16th track, entitled "A Gift for Melody Anne", they sing with haunting sibling harmonies: "I just want my life to be true, and I just want my heart to be true, and I just want my words to be true, and just want my song to be true." It could be said, that at times, subtlety is not the band's strength. In its place is a hopeful clarity, and solidity largely unknown in the world of popular music. "We do not pretend to have it all figured out, though we do hope to at least know what and why we are singing. As songwrit


A Carolina Jubilee - Ramseur Records 2003 (lp)
Swept Away - Ramseur Records 2004 (single)
Mignonette - Ramseur Records 2004 (lp)

Mignonette was the 8th most added record on the CMJ Chart for the first week in July. It is currently (July 15th) #188. Next week it will be added to the Americana Chart.

Set List

1 1/2 hour shows
Set List:
Love Like The Movies
Nothing Short Of Thankful
The Traveling Song
Me And God
One Line Wonder
At The Beach
Salvation Song
Swept Away
Pretty Girl At The Airport
Pretty Girl From Annapolis
Pretty Girl From Raleigh
Pretty Girl From Cedar Lane
Please Pardon Yourself

Covers: A few old-time and religious numbers