The Avett Brothers

Written By: Josh Wright

“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,” sang the four gentlemen as they held hands on stage.

No music behind them, just the 2,000+ screaming fans in the Roanoke Performing Arts Center in Roanoke, Virginia as they closed their show. This is the third time I’ve been lucky enough to witness the Avett Brothers live in concert. The first was in Hanford, California: a small agriculture town in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The second was at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon.

Each audience was markedly different: the small town, the progressive northwest, and the Bible belt. But also, each show had the same result. The Avetts were gracious and willing to thrill the crowd with their endless energy.

The band is made up of Seth and Scott Avett, they play the banjo and guitar respectively. Alongside the brothers is Bob Crawford on a stand up bass and Joe Kwon on the Cello. The brothers hail from the moderately sized Concord, North Carolina. Their music has traditional bluegrass notions throughout, but they have incorporated fresh ideas into making a palatable strand of roots music. People walk out of these shows with the inherent knowledge that true beauty has been witnessed.

Each audience member knows full well that the Avett Brothers were born to sing together, born to write songs, born to be a traveling band on America’s highways. The word passion, commonly tossed around with nonchalance, is one of the only words one can muster in the wake of their live show. Ask anyone who has seen them: I guarantee they’ll say the same. When Seth and Scott harmonize, none can doubt the power of watching a group of individuals demonstrate their destiny.

It felt fateful through the concert hall. The same force that brought this band together to sing about love has brought the audience here to wonder in its rays. At some point in each show, I’ve wept like a child. I can’t help it. I think it’s just my reaction to witnessing purity through an art form. When I wipe my eyes clean, my soul and the band causing these tears of unadulterated joy appear even more refined than before. Music that brings tears, that jams on your heart-strings gives indescribable gifts. I won’t even attempt to describe the feeling; I’ll just implore anyone I meet to listen.

The Avett Brothers have toured the entirety of this country. I’m damn sure that each of these shows were under the same lines as the ones I have witnessed. They are pulling thousands of heads in every town they go, and each of those heads are now filled with the Avett Brothers’ own brand of good news. Being a logical, deductive fellow, I’d say that the Avett Brothers are popular music in America. I’ll take it further: The Avett Brothers are the next great American band. Don’t be shocked kids, it’s really easy to see.

The age range of each of these shows went from the kids menu to AARP cards. A hefty percentage was still the 18-25, but that’s neither here nor there. What is, however, here and now is what has brought America together one venue, one city at a time. The Avetts sing about themes every male and female have on their brain incessantly. If you have been heavy in the throws of love or cursing it’s name as you shout to the stars or any of the emotions that lie on the continuum in between; I’d bet the Avett Brothers have a song about it.

What makes this great band even greater is the same idea any timeless writer has used to elevate themselves: universality. When one works through themes that everyone knows, or will know, a potential is born. It’s the potential for immortality, the potential to be passed down through generations. It’s the potential for a band to reach their own personal infinite.

I appreciate what they do, if for nothing else because of its rarity. All too often are music acts brazen and arrogant because of their given talent. The Avett Brothers are respectful, thankful, and thrilled to purvey their music to any who are willing to listen. They are a band that can tell us all about what binds us and reminds us. They are a band that has it oozing from every pore. They are a band that does it for all the right reasons. They are a band that might save the 2000’s from being the decade remembered by American Idol. They are a band I hope land in every home in America. They are a band that has every right to be the face of American music.

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