The Carolinas have consistently produced a myriad of great rock acts. James Brown, Ryan Adams, Band of Horses, and Shovels and Rope to name a few. With the tremendous talent congregating down in Charleston these days we are soon going to be adding quite a few names to that list. The Avett Brothers are the “oh yeah…them too” list of Carolinians. Maybe its their attachment to Rick Rubin and American Recordings, or perhaps they just don’t wear a Tarheel hat on stage and mention Carolina a whole helluva lot in their interviews. Whatever the case, the Avetts are continuing to shine a light on the musical culture of our region and helping to break deserving bands in the process.
This past Friday was the 2nd in a 3-night residency that has the brothers staked out at Columbia’s Township Auditorium. The crowd seemed well versed in the material singing along to hits such as Murder in the City and Head Full of Doubt among others. There did seem to be a nod to some of the older material and it seemed to lean heavy on their folksy, bluegrass roots. They coupled originals such as Denouncing November Blue with traditionals like Old Joe Clark and Blue Ridge Mountain Blues to really give the evening an “ol’ string band” feel. One of the highlights of the night was “Rejects in the Attic,” a tune scheduled to be released on an upcoming album later this year. The song is a good tune, but what makes it special – what makes any Avetts tune special– is the lyrics. These guys can sing really well but then so can a lot of people. They do have wonderful melodies but what really sets them apart is their ability to craft a message. Their songs are free of clichés and tired rhymes. The best thing about an Avett Brothers song is their expert command of the English language, which allows them to assemble words in a way that are unpredictable and beautiful. There were some wonderful covers including a nice rendition of Jim Croce’s Operator by Seth Avett, but the strength of the original compositions was more than enough to satisfy the audience and send folks home with a head full of beautiful melodies and memories.