"THE GREATEST SUM," THE AVETT BROTHERS
If you want to feel less alone, say you're having a rough go and you've decided you are the biggest ass to desecrate this planet, or any planet, and you're wondering just how you're going to live with yourself and the consequences of your imbecilic, seemingly reflexive behavior, take a moment and listen to the Avett Brothers. Actual brothers Scott (left) and Seth (far right)--Southern hillbillies with goosey voices and at least one Civil War beard--sing with unflinching frankness. About bad choices. About fear and need and other sticky emotions men like to bury along with their shame, something the Averts unabashedly say they possess by the "boatload." Old-timey and intimate, the brothers are not cool or provocative in any modern way. They care about things. If they are sex, they are sex with the lights on. With your wife.
Their songs, written equally by each brother and augmented with banjo, stand-up bass, piano, guitar, and the occasional hand clap, are free of anything resembling irony, venturing instead into the tricky terrain of bare-knuckle love and romantic loss, faith and family, and unpolished, unexceptional human failure. Miraculously, they are also a shit ton of fun. They are Richard Thompson crossed with the Louvin Brothers. Daniel Johnston without the mental illness. Kings of Leon without the hard-on. Folk, country, rock, and roots--all wrapped in the best campfire, hootenanny sing-along tradition. They warble the ugly truth, but they do it with flair and enthusiastic, chest-rattling conviction. Seen live, they jump up and down on their heels like schoolkids.
And then there's the writing, in "The Greatest Sum," they sing: "Not even the sun, a bullet from a gun, no nothing that this world can bring or anything someone could do, could hold me back from you." "When I Drink" sees the brothers weakly wrestling with their limitations and frailties, concluding: "Maybe I don't have to be good but I can try to be at least a little better than I've been so far." They return, in many songs, to the refrain that they are doing their best, acutely aware that their best effort isn't always going to be enough. Not for them. Or for any of us. Shame and honesty are indivisible, and the Avetts, wise to this, hold the mirror steady, staring down the face of their misdeeds, not reveling in or celebrating them, just laying them out, plain as line laundry, for everyone to see.
By Allison Glock
Esquire; Apr2009, Vol. 151 Issue 4, p78-78, 1/3p
Friday, May 29, 2009
An Article about the Avetts.
I know no one else (except Thor) is interested, but ... well, I really do write this all for me ultimately, right? So if you are interested, or wondering about why I like the Avett Brothers, here's an article and two videos for your viewing pleasure... or just skip it, I won't be hurt. :D
Posted by Sue at 12:00 PM