w/ Langhorn Slim
Fri. March 17
$12, ($10 adv.)
32 Ann St.
When you mention The Avett Brothers to an initiated fan, the immediate response is one of excitement … and confusion as to how to accurately define what they really do. They’re a string band, but they’re not a regular old string band playing mountain music. They’re like punker hillbillies who sing in harmony. They’re the indie-rock equivalent to the Kingston Trio. They’re the Tarheel Pogues. They’re the acoustic Beastie Boys of the Carolina piedmont. And so on and so forth …
The North Carolina string trio — banjoist Scott Avett, guitarist Seth Avett, and bassist Bob Crawford — may have grown up in Concord on Cheerwine, Whataburger French fries, Burlington sock lint, and vinegar barbecue, but there’s a lot more to their peculiar blend of folk, country-blues, and rock ‘n’ roll than their small-town Americana experiences let on.
The trio has stayed extremely busy on the road this year, touring in support of their recently-released fourth studio album, Four Thieves Gone: The Robbinsville Sessions — a massive, 17-song jam session with additional piano, harmonica, and hollerin’.
Their unique and dynamic mix of styles — folksy waltzes, fast-tempo acoustic rock, Dylan-esque ballads, old-timey country — and songwriting won praise from youngsters and critics (and heckling from the bluegrass elitists) at last year’s roots music gathering MerleFest. Their constant touring in and around their home state has earned them a viciously loyal following. Their bearded mugs earned them the cover of Charlotte magazine and splashy spreads in this month’s issues of No Depression and Paste.
“When people hear what we’re saying in our songs and listening to things for the right reasons — when they get quiet when we’re playing — it’s a blessing,” Scott Avett says. “To know that somebody has a problem in their life that we can temporarily soothe … that’s what it’s all about.”
Still buzzing from a sold-out concert at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, N.C., The Brothers visit Handlebar and Horizon Records in Greenville and the Music Farm in Charleston this week. Then they head to Athens, Ohio for a live taping of the roots music radio showcase Mountain Stage, due to hit airwaves in mid-April.
Bluesy “anti-folk” singer/guitarist Langhorne Slim, a Pennsylvania native now based in Brooklyn, opens this week’s shows. Slim’s recently-released debut EP, The Electric Love Letter, showcases what he calls his “holy roller bluesy showmanship.” He’s recently toured with the Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players and performed at Bonnaroo Music Festivals.
With their beautifully raggedy organic sounds, the Avett Brothers’s and Langhorn Slim’s St. Patrick’s Day show might just be the live music highlight of the week.