The Avett Brothers, a folk rock Americana daydream, will perform at Fresno's Saroyan Theatre on Thursday and there are lots of reasons to be excited.
The buzz around the group has been growing – most recently, with the new HBO documentary, “May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers,” and let’s not forget that epic live performance with legend Bob Dylan at the 2011 Grammy Awards – but their greatness has mostly stayed low-key, with occasional mainstream surfacing on talk shows like Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon.
As Seth Avett puts it, the brothers from North Carolina abandoned their dreams of folk and old-time stardom “for the even less likely dream of making a living playing original songs for people.”
The band’s singer-songwriter-guitar-banjo-cello-double bass-piano-kick-drum-heart power has been probing the depths of my soul since I was a college student. Here's a short list of some favorite Avett Brothers songs to increase your stoke about Thursday's concert. Enjoy!
Tortured love song: “I Wish I Was”
From their latest album, the Grammy-nominated “True Sadness,” this song can crush.
Seth Avett is a kind of secret admirer here. He imagines being a tune his beloved sings, a flame in a candle, then a worn sweater, before professing his love and apologizing for it.
Fed up song: “10,000 Words”
If you're feeling fed up with yourself, or if your profession is, say, a writer, this song can hit especially close to home.
The start: "Ten thousand words swarm around my head / 10 million more in books written beneath my bed / I wrote or read them all when searchin' in the swarms / still can't find how to hold my hands."
The chorus: "Ain't it like most people? I'm no different / we love to talk on things we don't know about."
It's also very, very beautiful.
Breakup song: “Part From Me”
A nice tragic breakup song. Scott Avett essentially says, "It's not you, it's me, baby," then jumps on a horse and rides off into the sunset.
Start of the chorus: "Part from me / I would not dare take someone in love with me / where I'm going."
Even if you're not in the midst of heartbreak, this song can melt you with its smooth, sad gorgeousness.
Let-me-love-you song: “Live and Die”
Despite the title, this is a cheerful, lighthearted song for scaredy-cat love.
The start: "All it will take is just one moment and / you can say goodbye to how we had it planned / fear like a habit run like a rabbit out and away / through the screen door to the unknown / but I wanna love you and more / I wanna find you and more / where do you reside, when you hide? / how can I find ya?"
My favorite version is this raw NPR field recording of the brothers singing together in their tour bus.
True love song: “January Wedding”
This song is so sweet. Every word is sunshine. Don't make me pick which lines to write. Just listen, then maybe get married, in January.