North Carolina’s Avett Brothers release new EP , The Gleam, at start of tour

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:: The Avett Brothers :: Belly Up :: October 12 ::
:: Dulcinea’s :: October 13 ::
:: Boulder Theater :: October 14 ::
   

By Alex Samuel

At first, it’s hard to understand Seth Avett of The Avett Brothers. His voice is slightly muffled and racing with articulate excitement. He sounds distant but feels close. He’s pensive, he’s honest, he pauses between breathes of clarity. Seth Avett epitomizes The Avett Brothers’ distinctly soulful harmony and gypsy picking.

On a Tuesday night in 1998, Scott Avett began getting together with flat-pickers and friends to play acoustic country and drink liquor in Greenville, NC. This gathering became called The Back Porch Project or Nemo Downstairs and seemed like nothing outside of a simple side project.

The rest of the week, Scott and his brother Seth were involved in a five-piece hardcore band named Nemo. In 2001, Nemo “imploded” on itself, said Seth Avett, and the brothers had an American roots music awakening.

“The big rock and roll dream kind of died, in a way. The freedom of just taking your guitar and a banjo and going out and just playing on a sidewalk somewhere or a kitchen or bedroom or somewhere else, was very attractive,” said Seth Avett in a recent interview with The Marquee.

And so formed The Avett Brothers. Scott and Seth Avett, along with Bob Crawford, quickly transformed into a humble threesome who abandoned rock star dreams and set out to do what they love.

The Avett Brothers’ most recent full-length album, Four Thieves Gone: The Robbinsville Sessions, is tangible beauty. Each element of the 17-track album harmonizes elegance and loneliness as its endearingly antithetical sensibility traces real life for just over an hour.

While the opening track, “Talk on Indolence,” is upbeat and (almost) theatrical, the song’s balance between country twang and charming instrumentals prepares the listener for the bruiting cowboy antics of “Matrimony” or the slightly muted love song “Famous Flower of Manhattan,” that echoes with the loneliness of empty highways and heartbreak.

On September 19, the brothers released a six-song EP called The Gleam. Each track seems to spill from the gut of a weathered raconteur and floats beneath intricate picking and breathy honesty.

The wax-pressed sincerity that is available with every album the Avett Brothers sell may lead a listener to believe the band thrives chiefly in the studio. Thankfully, this is far from true.

When the Avett Brothers stand in the front of a venue’s crowd, everything else stops.

“For us, [playing live]becomes a room full of swirly tornado style levels of excitement and that way there’s an audience and then performance. It’s just kind of a celebration. That doesn’t have to mean hollering and screaming,” Avett said. “The live show is that moment. Period. Our time is very limited. When we play live that is the only time it will ever happen. It’s fluid and finite and that’s exciting.”

 

:: The Avett Brothers ::

:: Belly Up :: October 12 ::

:: Dulcinea’s :: October 13 ::

:: Boulder Theater :: October 14 ::

 

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