Grungegrass gala

As proclaimed on the band’s MySpace page, Seth and Scott Avett keep it “honest, loyal and true.” A shared background, from which derive their songs, and a brotherly bond both unspoken and musically manifested make The Avett Brothers as close as any duo to the “real thing.” Seth and Scott Avett (guitarist and banjo player, respectively) along with bassist Bob Crawford comprise this North Carolinan “grungegrass” group that masterfully integrates folk, ragtime, bluegrass, rock and alt-country influences. Following the dissolution of the brothers’ former project, a more mainstream rock band dubbed Nemo, Seth and Scott evolved into an increasingly genre-crossing, acoustically oriented duo. Not surprisingly, The Avett Brothers’ sound vacillates between rock n’ roll and twangy folk-country, as exemplified in their seven-album discography. Their live performances, glorious three-part harmonies and an unparalleled on-stage dynamism distinguish the trio from competing acts.
This coming Sunday, Sept. 7, The Avett Brothers will be joined by Portland singer-songwriter Justin Gordon at the Canopy Club for a show that is sure to please. CU should be grateful to host the band described by the San Francisco Chronicle as combining the “heavy sadness of Townes Van Zandt, the light pop concision of Buddy Holly, the tuneful jangle of the Beatles and the raw energy of the Ramones.” For more information on The Avett Brothers, check out their official Web site at
Not only do these five songs rank among the top Avett Brothers iTunes song purchases but they also comprise some of my personal favorites. Whether an avid Avett Bros. fan or simply a curious listener, the songs listed below will help you get pumped for the band’s Canopy show.
1. “Paranoia in B Flat Major.” Off the brothers’ 2007 release, Emotionalism, this song reeks of Beatles nostalgia, which may explain why the band chose to perform this song for their national television debut on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
2. “Die, Die, Die.” Also off Emotionalism, the ironically upbeat “Die, Die, Die” fuses catchy pop with the lyrically sardonic.
3. “My Last Song to Jenny (Live).” Unlike your typical breakup song, “My Last Song to Jenny” strikes the difficult-to-achieve balance between heart-wrenching melancholia and bittersweet resignation.
4. “Murder in the City.” Found on the Avett Brothers’ summer EP, The Second Gleam, “Murder in the City” sounds like something off of the Wilco/Billy Bragg compilation Mermaid Avenue yet written by UK singer-songwriter Alexi Murdoch.
5. “Backward with Time” (from their ’06 EP, The Gleam). Dylan-esque instrumentals and a philosophically minded take on love and time make this thought-provoking song listener-friendly.

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