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The band will likely see its biggest Southwest Virginia crowd to date Thursday at the Roanoke Civic Center.
Seth (left) and Scott Avett started off as grunge rockers, but they shifted to folk, bluegrass and country, with occasional rock propulsion.
Joe Kwon (left) and Bob Crawford of The Avett Brothers perform in Nashville, Tenn.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
In seven years and at least nine stops in the Roanoke and New River valleys, The Avett Brothers have steadily built their audience.
It started with a 2005 side stage appearance at FloydFest. The next year, the band played the Coffee Pot in Roanoke. Since then, the stages and crowds have gotten bigger — Jefferson Center, more Floyd-Fest action, Roanoke Performing Arts Theatre, Virginia Tech’s Burruss Hall.
The band sold out the performing arts theater, capacity 2,048, in October 2010. The next year, about 2,500 came to see the band at Virginia Tech.Avett Brothers
When The Avett Brothers return to Roanoke for a Thursday night show at an even larger venue, Roanoke Civic Center’s coliseum, it is likely to see its biggest Southwest Virginia crowd to date. The arena will be configured to fit 6,500.
Here are five things to know about this band, which was at the vanguard of a folk-based movement that has spawned the likes of Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers.
They used to be grunge
Scott and Seth Avett, for whom the band was named, were grunge rockers in the 1990s, part of a Greenville, N.C.,-based band called Nemo.
But by 2001, Scott Avett was messing around with a banjo during late-night jam sessions that led the brothers toward folk, bluegrass and country music.
When you hear songs like the older “Talk On Indolence” or the recent “Paul Newman vs. the Demons,” you’re hearing something closer to what influenced the brothers growing up.
The third Avett
Upright bass player Bob Crawford has been a band member since near the beginning. Scott Avett has said that Crawford’s desire to do a tour with them in 2002, a sort of bucket list thing, is probably the reason the act is together now.
When the band played Virginia Tech, Crawford’s absence was conspicuous . He had taken time off from the road while his then 22-month-old daughter, Hallie, was in treatment for a rare brain tumor that nearly killed her. She is recovering, and Crawford is back on the road.
These days, he is a big advocate for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where Hallie received most of her treatment.
The fourth (and fifth?) Avett
Cellist Joe Kwon has been a touring member of the band since 2007, for the album “Emotionalism.” And he is sort of famous as a foodie because of his tasteon
tour.com blog, loaded with recipes, photos and more.
At the Virginia Tech show, drummer Jacob Edwards was part of the touring band.
The Avetts’ first album, “Country Was,” led off with the track “Pretty Girl from Matthews.” Other such titles have included “Pretty Girl from Raleigh” (among three such titles on “A Carolina Jubilee”), “Pretty Girl at the Airport” and “Pretty Girl from Chile.” The tradition continues on the band’s latest CD, “The Carpenter,” with the song “Pretty Girl from Michigan.”
After 10 record releases (two of which were EPs), the Avetts finally received a Grammy nomination for “The Carpenter.” The band lost in the Americana category to Bonnie Raitt and her album, “Slipstream.”
The record, which came out last year, marks a further honing, a stronger tightening of the band’s sound. That has been bad news for some old-school fans who were first attracted to the punkish rough edges of the band’s playing style, then found themselves annoyed by the band’s growing musicianship and musical smoothing.
As the crowds continue to grow, though, the singalongs become louder. Lyrically, the band has not departed from its mix of tongue-in-cheek humor and unabashed earnestness.
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