Tag Archives: The Avett Brothers

Album Review: Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield – Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith

ES_Cover_loWhat can be said about Elliott Smith that most people have not said already?  You either loved him or did not care for him.

Smith left his legacy suddenly years back in the worst way possible and his music has remained for the world to sulk upon when in need.

In 2003, Smith ended his life after suffering from depression for years.  I have no words for his choice on how he bowed out to the world nor will I even go into detail.

The 90s punk me was introduced to Smith’s self-titled album by some of my indie-loving friends years before “Needle In The Hay” was heard in The Royal Tenenbaums.  I’ll be honest and tell you that I never appreciated him until after his passing.  I remember liking what I heard, but apparently was too much in love with the SoCal punk scene.

The twenty-something-year-old-me back then was not impacted as much as present day me would have been.  I hate to admit it, but at the time I was not deprived of Smith’s talent when I learned of his passing.  Twelve years later, I have a different way of looking at his loss.

Next week, Seth Avett of The Avett Brothers and Kent, Ohio’s sweetheart Jessica Lea Mayfield will be dropping Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith, a covers album full of, you guessed it, Elliott Smith songs.

The album, dropping on Ramseur Records, is not a reinvention of Smith’s work, but more of an appreciation for someone they both were fans of.

Produced by Avett and recorded over the last three years at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC as well as at Avett’s and Mayfield’s homes, the album features renditions of twelve Elliott Smith songs.

It was almost haunting to hear Mayfield start out “Between The Bars”.  This version sent chills throughout my body.  I loved how Avett joined Mayfield but did not dominate the song.

I really enjoyed the piano playing that built up throughout “Baby Britain” and feel Avett nailed it when trying to recreate.  It started off slower with acoustic playing but soon jumped into a more upbeat cover.  It kills me thaSeth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smitht this was a more popular song of Smith’s and was all about his addiction, but it really is a great song.  (Side note:  I enjoyed this cover way more than Bayside’s 2008 version)

“Ballad Of Big Nothing” was just as depressing as the original on Smith’s Either/Or.  Not that i was expecting anything different, but the impact that Mayfield’s voice with Avett provided a different dismal angle.

I would have loved to have heard Avett take lead on their version of “Roman Candle”.  The distorted guitars were awesome but I really wanted to hear a more close to the original version of the signing to this amazing track.  I was rather underwhelmed on this.

The original version of “Memory Lane” always reminded me of something the Beatles might have done.  Hearing Avett slow it down a bit with a stings section made me think of the Beatles even more.  This was a great version of the original.

The collaboration of Avett and Mayfield only made sense seeing how they have been pals for years now.   For them to cover Elliott Smith songs was nothing next to brilliant.  The best part is how they chose what material to cover and how they each took turns taking the lead.  They reached all over Smith’s catalog including some hits and more obscure tracks.

This is the part where I encourage those who never cared for Smith to take a listen and hear his brilliance in a different dynamic.  Love him or hate him, Smith was an incredible songwriter.  This covers album proved that so well.

The album drops on March 17th and you can preorder it now by heading over to The Avett Brothers merch site.

If you’re lucky, you can even catch them live throughout March:
10   McGlohon Theatre, Charlotte, NC
11   The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA
12   Town Hall Theatre, New York, NY
14   Keswick Theatre, Glenside, PA (Philadelphia)
17   James K. Polk Theatre/TPAC, Nashville, TN
18   Southern Theatre, Columbus, OH
20   Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago, IL
22   Fitzgerald Theatre, St. Paul, MN
24   Boulder Theatre, Boulder, CO
26   Neptune Theatre, Seattle, WA
27   Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR
29   Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA
31   Wilshire Ebell Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

Side note:  This powerful scene with Richie in The Royal Tenenbaums is beyond horrifying even more so when you think about what happened just a couple years later…  I am glad Avett and Mayfield did not cover this track.

The Avett Brothers To Play w/ John Mayer @ Blossom Music Center

Looks like my summer will be that much more enjoyable thanks to The Avett Brothers (TAB) who will be making a stop at Blossom Music Center this summer.  Having seen them once this year already I have no problem seeing them again.

Just announced, TAB will join John Mayer on his Battle Studies World Tour for a couple of dates and Ohio happens to be one of them.

A message from the Avetts:

Hey Everyone,
Just announced: We are hitting the road with John Mayer this summer!

We are joining John as special guests on The Battle Studies World Tour, for the dates listed below:

Jul 31 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
Aug 13 Cuyahoga Falls, OH Blossom Music Center
Aug 14 Tinley Park, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Aug 15 Noblesville, IN Verizon Wireless Music Center

The Avett Brothers

Tickets go on sale April 17th through Live Nation

Concert Review: The Avett Brothers – House Of Blues – Cleveland, OH – 02/27/2010

It’s really not a secret anymore, The Avett Brothers are kind of a big deal these days.  Not even a year ago brothers Scott and Seth Avett along with bassist Bob Crawford and cellist Joe Kwon brought their folk act to the Akron Civic theater to a decent sized crowd.

That show was just months before the release of the Rick Rubin produced I and Love and You, an album that would change their status as a band forever putting them in the spotlight they so deserve.

Last Saturday night the North Carolinian foursome returned to Ohio and played to a sold out crowd at the House Of Blues in Cleveland.  With tickets being sold out months prior, it was pretty apparent that this was a show many folk were looking forward to be it new fans or long time followers. Looking around the venue as I arrived it was clear that the attendees of the night were a fine mix old and young.  There were frat boys pounding Miller Lite’s as well as a dread-locked couple hanging back against a wall and even a couple punk rockers loitering by the bar.  It would almost seem as if the night was all about bringing people together at the expense of music.

Folk act The Low Anthem from Providence, Rhode Island had the pleasure of being the opening act.  Starting off with a couple slow folk songs off their latest release Oh My God Charlie Darwin it was clear that most of the crowd was not interested in them at all.  Lead singer Ben Knox Miller did not let that bother him one bit though and continued playing songs to the packed house along with Jeff Prystowsky primarily on the stand-up bass.  Joining them as well was Jocie Adams who took care of most of the percussion duties, and Mat Davidson.  The band all played multiple instruments throughout their set showcasing their talent.

Just about half way into the set they switched gears and started rocking out heavily with Miller and Adams belting out vocals and Prystowsky beating the crap out of his stand up bass ever so passionately.  Adams really caused some jaws to drop when she sang in full force as she was just a small framed thing.  Many of the crowd soon quieted down and gave them the respect they deserved and by the set’s end the whole place was cheering for them.

It was clear that The Avett Brothers have reached that “rock star” level once the curtains were drawn introducing the Avett brothers, Bob Crawford, Joe Kwon, and a new touring drummer Jacob Edwards (of Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers) to the crowd that night.  The entire place cheered and sang along as they opened up with the ever appropriate “Salina”.  When the lyrics “Cleveland, I ain’t never felt nothing so strong” were recited the entire crowd went crazy and that would not be the last time that happened.  In fact the boys kept the momentum going following the opening song by playing “Slight Figure of Speech”.

Continuing for the hour and a half set the band played a few songs off their latest release but also dug deep into their catalog as well as even hammered out “Where Have All The Average People Gone”, a Roger Miller cover.   Not surprisingly the touring drummer entered and exited the stage when the time came for Scott Avett to get behind the drums.  It was also nice to see a very energetic Joe Kwon stay on the stage for the entire show.  The last time I had the please of seeing the Avett’s the celloist walked on and off the stage throughout the night but this time he stood his ground and played his heart out.

There was no “Kick Drum Heart” or “I and Love and You” played during their as many might have wanted to hear but “January Wedding” as well as “And It Spread” was suffice to all as everyone sang along when each was played.  I myself was most thrilled to hear “Murder In The City” as I just had listened to the song the other day on my record player.  Still fresh in my mind I sang along with everyone around me just enjoying every second of it.

“Go To Sleep” was perhaps one of my favorite tracks to hear during the evening.  Joe Kwon took his cello and played the beginning of the song and in no time the entire crowd decided to help by screaming “La La, La La La La” throughout as the rest of the band sang and played the boot stomping jam.  Sure the song is not about the happiest of times but the energy exhumed out of the song from all was just incredible.  As the song came to an end the boys left the stage to an over-adoring crowd.

All I could think of in my head was “they get it”.  When I say “they” I meant the crowd, and “it” of course was the music.  Sure the place was sold out, packed, and full of people who had one too many but they all were there for a good time with good people thanks to good music.  Better yet I was overly pleased with the set list of the night as the Avett’s took and played songs from a whole slew of their albums and tried not to just focus on the new stuff and most of the fans around me sang along to every single song.

As the crowd continued to sing “La La, La La La La” in a rather collected harmony the boys returned to the stage and started their encore with a slowed down version of “Traveling Song”.  Ending the night with “If It’s The Beaches” off of The Gleam, the crowd was not ready to let the Avett Brothers call it a night but sadly they exited the stage and the lights were turned back on.  As those lights became brighter I could start to see more people’s faces with smiles reaching ear to ear.  It was proof of how amazing the night was and just how great of a time was had in the venue on a Saturday night in Cleveland.

Set List:
Slight Figure Of Speech
Where Have All The Average People Gone? (Roger Miller Cover)
Please Pardon Yourself
Distraction #74
Perfect Space
Murder In The City
Tear Down The House
At The Beach
Laundry Room
And It spread
Head Full Of Doubt
I Would Be Sad
January Wedding
Famous Flower of Manhattan
Go To sleep

Traveling Song
If It’s The Beaches

Bombadil – So Fresh And So Clean…

Remember the first time you heard something new and fresh to your ears?  I know when I did and after checking out Bombadil‘s Tarpits And Canyonlands on Ramseur Records I can say it happened all over again.  This Bolivian threesome really hints towards their label mates The Avett Brothers but is unique in their own and just has me wanting much more.

How unique you ask? How about a core of electric / acoustic guitars, bass, piano and drums and appearances by harmonica, xylophone, organ, synth, saxophone, trumpet, viola, charango, glockenspiel, accordion, recorder and even zampona… Yeah, almost like a folk rock Gogol Bordello.

Fans of folk and indie rock will be fans of Bombadil once they give them a chance.  Check out the video below or visit their MySpace page for a few extra tracks.

The Awesome: The Avett Brothers On Sale – “Slight Figure Of Speech” Video Premier On FunnyOrDie.com

For the past couple weeks I have been enjoying videos on FunnyOrDie.com & YouTube by something called the The American Budget Network (TAB).  TAB features comedian Andy Daly selling random products but with a twist.  Mocking television shopping channels with a almost UHF feel to is genus especially when the episodes sometimes “accidentally” show behind the scenes clips.  Never in a million years though would I have thought that the clips would incorporate into an Avett Brothers music video… Hilarious and brilliant.

Come to think…


The. Avett. Brothers.

Coincidence??? Perhaps.

The Avett Brothers “Slight Figure Of Speech” video on TAB: