Interview with the Avett Brothers

by Jack Diablo

WHO: The Avett Brothers with Matt Butcher and the Revolvers
WHERE: St. Augustine Amphitheatre
WHEN: July 16th, 7:15 pm
COST: $17 – $27
The Avett Brothers have been busy. Over the last couple years they have performed on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, topped the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart and toured with the likes of Dave Matthews Band and Widespread Panic. Their sound is classic with a modern twist, combining country and bluegrass with rock. Even as technology advances and has its effect on the music industry, the Avett Brothers hearken back to that familiar Southern sound.
“I think there’s always been a lot of people out there that identify with roots music,” says Bob Crawford, the band’s bassist. And with so many different styles of music these days, many people are rediscovering classic sounds just as often as they discover new ones. Sticking to a specific genre, Crawford believes, is less important these days, both in making music and listening to it: “I think people now more than ever enjoy several different genres of music. I feel like the lines of genre are getting blurred.”
Perhaps the reason more and more people are identifying with the Avett Brothers’ music is because of the reaction against the electronic and synthesized music that comes out these days. You won’t hear any Korgs or Casios at an Avett Brothers show but you will experience banjo, upright bass and mandolin. As Crawford puts it, “Whenever you have an extreme of one thing, be it music, film, politics, whatever it is – when you have an extreme on one side, you are going to get a backlash. I think that’s just kind of a law of the universe in some way.”
But for all the recent exposure and sold out shows, success hasn’t gotten the better of the band. “We do a really good job of keeping ourselves very insulated,” Crawford says about being on the road and listening to what others have to say about their music. “It’s nice to have people coming into the fold and listening to the music and it’s nice to have people say good things about it. But that’s kind of a byproduct. We’re thankful for it but it’s important not to pay too much attention to it. We’ve got a really strong core group of fans who’ve carried us all along.”
And those fans are no doubt eagerly anticipating the release of their new album, I and You and Love, which is slated for an August release. “Listening to the new album, it is the most mature thing we’ve done,” says Crawford. The album will see the Avett Brothers experimenting with a full band set-up this go-around. But as opposed to a dramatic change of direction, they view it as a natural progression. “If you think about the rungs on a ladder and you think of the distance between each rung, the new album, I and Love and You, is about equidistant from Emotionalism, which is equidistant from Four Thieves Gone, which is equidistant from Mignonette.” And you can expect that the next album will follow suit. “I don’t think we’ve reached the end. I think we’ve got some more steps we can take.”
Right now, the Avett Brothers are touring the country to promote the new album. You can expect to hear your favorites as well as new songs from I and Love and You. But Crawford tells EU that concert-goers can expect even more:”We’ve got a whole new batch of songs that are newer than the album coming out. This one’s not even out yet and we’re ready to do another one.”
You can catch the Avett Brothers at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on July 16th with Matt Butcher and the Revolvers. The show starts at 7:15 pm and tickets range in price from $17 to $27.