Listening wistfully from my back porch, I can almost hear the frenetic melodies of the Avett Brothers carried eastward from a couple cities away. They’re in Asheville tonight, ushering in the new year, breaking banjos and plucking heart strings. Meanwhile, I scream-sing “Will You Return” while photoshopping myself into pictures with them.
The southern roots rock of the Avetts is appealing, manic, engaging, high-energy, warm-hearted, and harmony-drenched. These guys are wild with passion for their music, and you hear it in every note. When they came to here to Greensboro a couple years ago, they played my favorite hymn, “I’ll Fly Away”, with fervor like I’d never seen before.
The boys infuse that insight and contagious energy into their latest album,I and Love and You. Seasoned with generous helpings of a-stompin’ and a-hollerin’.
My darling mother, armed with impeccable taste, presented me with the I and Love and You vinyl set for Christmas last year. Along with a killer bandana that I’ve taken to wearing tied around my bicep, it included a lithograph with the fellas’ take on love.
The words “I” and “Love” and “You” are the watermark of humanity. Strung together, they convey our deepest sense of humility, of power, of truth. It is our most common sentiment, even as the feeling of it is so infinitely uncommon: each to proclaim these three words with his or her very own heart and mindset of reason (or lack thereof); a proclamation completely and perfectly new each time it is offered.
And yet the words themselves have been the victims of triviality, a ready replacement for lesser salutations amongst near strangers, burst forth casually as “love ya!” Truly? To what degree? Why? How much? And for how long? These are questions befitting the stature of love, though not the everyday banter of vague acquaintance.
In any case, and by whatever inspiration, these words are woven deeply into the fibers of our existence. Our longing to hear them from the right place is maddeningly and simultaneously our finest strength and our most gentle weakness. As living people we are bound by this unavoidable parallel. We are powerful yet weak, capable yet temporary.
Just a glimpse into their signature mix of confusion and clarity. Bro out with the Avetts and enjoy just one of their many gems below.
Listen: The Avett Brothers – Kick Drum Heart