The Brothers Avett

Well. There’s so many things that are on my mind, pressing on it, making me cry every day, that I think I’ll tell you about something that is making me happy every day. The Avett Brothers. I’ll tell you this much. If you’ve known me for even a little bit, you know music is at the core of me. It’s integral to who and what I am. I grew up listening to music as filtered through my father, and through the mishmash that was Top 40 on the radio in the 80s. There was MTV when they were actually MUSIC Television. And there were my salad days; days of having no real responsibility and learning about all the music I hadn’t yet been exposed to while having a college radio station at my disposal.

Then came the second part of my music education: live music. From Schubas to Lounge Ax to Double Door to Metro to the Riv to the Vic to the Aragon to the UIC Pavilion to the World Music Theater to the Rosemont Horizon to the Bottom Lounge to Gunther Murphy’s to the Park West to the Empty Bottle to the Congress Theater to the Logan Square Auditorium to the Lakeshore Theater to the Hideout to Nevin’s to SPACE to Uncommon Ground to the Chicago Theater to the Taste of Chicago to Lollapalooza to Martyr’s to the Abbey to Subterreanean to Beat Kitchen to … well, everywhere. I think I was even at the Thirsty Whale once and I have been to suburban gems like Durty Nellie’s and a million dive bars for shows, not to mention venues in plenty of other states. I even saw a small, intimate performance by Rhett Miller at the Apple Store once.

I go into such great detail because I’ve seen a lot of bands. Some were so-so. Some were mindblowing. Some were horrible. There have been some real stand outs. Some that I’ve gone on to become a life-long fan of. Some that I’ll buy any album they put out — Frisbie, Fountains of Wayne, Dan and Matt Wilson and any iterations thereof. I’m sure there are others. But it’s been a long time since I’ve been knocked silly by a band. Since I’ve been stuck on endless repeat for days, weeks. Since I can’t stop thinking about their songs even when I’m not listening to them. Since I can’t stop wondering when I’ll be able to see them live again.

I talked a little about The Avett Brothers when I posted their song, “The Lowering” from their album, “Four Thieves Gone” from 2006. But, really. Let me say that I truly believe (and I think they believe, too) that the brothers were sent here to do God’s work by writing and singing and performing music. Now, that isn’t to say I think they’re supposed to sing Christian songs. I think their murder ballad, “I Killed Sally’s Lover” is just as much God’s work as all of their “Pretty Girl” songs as are their songs about love. It’s just so obvious they were given such large doses of musical talent and the intelligence and insight to go with it, that they were meant to share it with the world. Secondarily and maybe more importantly, the reception they get from their fans is proof positive they are doing it right. I’ve never seen people so excited and eager to be around this energy.

And why wouldn’t you want to be near this? Their joy and passion just radiate from them as they play their music live. They dance *while* playing. No joke. They are so grateful and humble about their work. And then there’s the raw power and spirit with which they infuse their music. They have these beautiful, soaring voices, harmonizing like only brothers can … and then they scream like they can’t get the joy or pain or love or angst or happiness or fear or rage or excitement out of them hard or fast enough.

I’ve never been so transfixed, so sucked in, so fast. I have maybe two comparisons. But, it’s weird. I’m just in love. Seriously. I’m in the infatuation phase. I’m just head over heels with these guys. Yes, of course, it never hurts that they’re easy on the eyes. But, they’re happily married family men, so that’s not it. It’s just the spirit of it all. I truly believe it’s my spirit connecting with kindreds, even though they will probably never realize the power of the good they do. If they’re helping me through a hard time, I’m sure they’ve done it for countless more.

Oh, and they’re always very grateful to be wherever they are and they’re very humble about where they’ve gotten. Always acknowledging the audience that came to see them and how happy they are to be playing. I really love and respect that. So, I’m hooked something good.

Okay. See for yourself. You know I have to love a band that wrote a song called “Paranoia in B Flat Major.”

I keep tellin’ myself that it’ll be fine
You can’t make everybody happy all of the time
I found myself in a place that I never been
A place that I thought that I would never be
There’s people looking back at me

I keep having this dream; I’m at a party
There’s people throwing drinks and screaming telling me that I don’t belong
Lately life’s been the same I find this comfortable place
With all my friends then my friends start telling me that I’ve always been wrong
And I’m so tired of being wrong

There was a time I could move there was a time I could breathe
The crowded spaces filled with angry faces
It didn’t once cross my mind
With paranoia on my heels; Will you love me still
when we awake and you find that the sanity has gone from my eyes?

I got secrets from you, you got secrets from me
Because you’re so worried about what I’m gonna to think,
Baby I’m worried too
But if love is a game, girl, then you’re gonna win
I’ll spend the rest of my life bringing victory in
If you want me to

And just a super pretty one. “November Blue.”


If I weren’t leavin’, would I catch you dreamin’
And if I weren’t gonna be gone now, could I take you home
And if I told you I loved you, would it change what you see
And if I were leavin’, would you stay with me
And if I had money, would it all look good
And if I had a job now, like a good man should
And if I came to you tomorrow, and said let’s run away
Would you roll like the wind does, baby would you stay

My heart is dancin’, to a November tune
And I hope that you hear it, singing songs about you
I sing songs of sorrow, because you’re not around
See, babe I’m gone tomorrow, Baby follow me down

I don’t know why I have to, but this man must move on
I love my time here, didn’t know ’til I was gone
November shadows, shade November change
November spells sweet memory, the season blue remains
November spells sweet memory, the season blue remains

Your yellow hair is like the sunlight, however sweet it shines
Bit by the cold of December, I’m warm beside your smile

Oh lady, tell me I’m not leaving, you’re everything I dreamed
I’m killing myself thinking, I’ve fallen like the leaves
I’m killing myself thinking, I’ve fallen like the leaves

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4 thoughts on “The Brothers Avett

  1. The Thirsty Whale? That placed closed in 1996, killed by what killed everything else at that time, Grunge. Grunge followers were a bunch of unemployed heroin users. Not the best bar customer. No money and basically wanting to stay in the apartment or trailer all day long.

  2. You’re hilarious, as always. I’m sure all the people who paid a shitload of money to see the 20th anniversary Pearl Jam shows at Alpine probably are at work, currently disproving your theory.

  3. And Pearl Jam was considered corporate wonks by the true grunge people. Read what Cobain said about them. Grunge was like punk in that the bands made no money because the fans were basically poor. My point was Grunge killed the feel good 80’s. Not saying that was good or bad it just was.

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