Band of the Week: The Avett Brothers

Music Features The Avett Brothers

Hometown: Concord, N.C.
Members [l-r]: Seth Avett (guitar, vocals), Scott Avett (banjo, vocals), Bob Crawford (upright bass)
Fun Fact: Although the Avetts don’t place any specific genre labels on their music, reviewers have called it everything from “post-Civil War modern rock” to “grungegrass.”
Why They’re Worth Watching: Nearly constant touring and five albums have brought the band a loyal cult following throughout the country.
For Fans Of: Doc Watson, Nirvana, Langhorne Slim

“It can be a fault, for sure,” Scott Avett says of Emotionalism, the title of the latest album (out May 15 on Ramseur Records) by The Avett Brothers. “[It’s] kind of like alcoholism: You put way too much emphasis on it. So maybe we’re victims. Or maybe not victims, but guilty of it.”

Merriam-Webster defines emotionalism as “undue indulgence in or display of emotion,” and fault or not, Scott Avett and the rest of the Avett Brothers set out to make a record that forces a reaction from the listener. “Our common denominator is when we feel the emotion from a song; that’s the kind of thing that really turns us on,” he says. “It seems like a negative thing when you consider music mathematical. [It can be] really good [music], but not really have a lot of emotion, but [that’s] a different realm than we’re involved in.”

Reacting to a recent revelation that the palpable emotion necessary to make effective visual art is also essential to making quality music, Scott Avett, his brother Seth, and bandmate Bob Crawford holed up in an Asheville, N.C., studio and made their fifth record. The first with co-producers, Scott Avett says the extra hands helped refine the process without taking away complete control. “We probably kept songs shorter than we would had we not been working with other people,” he explains. “We tend to get a little crazy with stuff, and sometimes you need to be reminded to limit yourself.”

Now that Emotionalism is finished, The Avett Brothers have spent five albums pouring their emotions onto tape. “When you write a song that exposes something that you don’t really want [exposed], such as an emotion or an event, and if you feel a little nervous about it, then you most likely have got something that other people are going to relate to,” Scott Avett says. “That’s going to strike a chord. And I’ve lived by that.”

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