I’ve fallen back into groove with the Avett Brothers recently. If you’re not familiar, i’m posting a few offerings below a la YouTube. What’s so special about this music? Well, to start, somber banjo pickings, soulful harmonies, and vulnerable lyrics.
Did you just yawn? Did you just roll your eyes up and call on the ghost of Jeff Buckley to save you? When I first heard about the Avett Brothers a few years ago, I wasn’t impressed. The descriptions sounded hollow, lacking depth, and none of the reviews sparked any interest in me. By sheer dumb luck, I stumbled upon a song of theirs and have been hooked ever since. Music’s like that, it will either hook you or it won’t. So, what hooked me?
These guys are a little rough around the edges but soft enough to cradle you— much like their home state of North Carolina. Calloused hands, piercing stares that melt into grins and warm laughter. Have you been to North Carolina?
Hot, humid summers with fireflies and the rolling summer thunderstorms coming over the mountains? Wandering through old pines in the Appalachian mountains, don’t you recall looking skyward and seeing the clouds playing with the tree tops? Looking out at the beauty, you wonder how so many battles could have been fought in such a beautiful place.
Right, you didn’t come here for insight on ecology, geography, or history. Fair enough. So, the hook. I recognize the old Southern contradictions in their lyrics, feel warmed by the banjo offerings, and sense the landscape seeping out of their songs. The Avett Brothers highlight the bonds between people, their families, their loves, all the while reminding us, we are as tied to the landscape as we are to people.
I think of my sister and our cross-country road trip over the holidays. I think of my friend Joe who lives in North Carolina. I haven’t seen Joe since college in Kent, Ohio. He’s married now, has a child, and we talk on the phone about playing guitar. While I listening to the Avett Brothers yesterday, a scene formed in my head—sitting on a front porch in North Carolina, watching my dogs run in the yard, sipping beers, and playing songs together on a hot summer day.
The Avett Brothers are coming to Sacramento in April at the Crest Theatre. Tickets are on sale and are going FAST. Hope to see you there. If you’re elsewhere, if they come to your town, there’s good music to be heard, so go.
Drop down and enjoy— a storm’s coming for sure.
My Last Song for Jenny (live)
I and Love and You
This song and video represent the North Carolina vibe for those of you not familiar.
Murder in the City
I feel a distinct ben folds five vibe during the song’s part 2.
I’ve borrowed a photo, Snowy Crosswalk, from my sister, Einah. There’s a blizzard in NYC and she got a snow day from work. 2.10.10. I can’t believe how much snow NYC got. Makes me think of waking up on New Year’s Eve morning in Shamrock Texas with the blizzard swirling around us. Love you.