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Avett Brothers on the Road to Success

Adriana Pratt | Friday, January 28, 2011

With smooth North Carolinian accents that melt in your ear like apple butter on a biscuit, it’s hard not to fall in love with the Avett Brothers at first sound. Watch their charming interviews and you’re toast. This band means business and is out to win the hearts of folk lovers all around.

Scott and Seth Avett will be headlining a show at the Morris Performing Arts Center Saturday at 8 p.m. to an audience infatuated with their folksy ballads and upbeat anthems. Joining them on stage will be cellist Joe Kwon, who joined the group in 2007, and fellow band mate Bob Crawford on the standup bass.

The band officially formed in 2001 in Charlotte, North Carolina under the title “Nemo Back Porch Project,” according to the Avett Brothers website. Scott Avett manned the banjo while Seth played the guitar and both contributed to the crooning vocals. Crawford joined the group after meeting up with the Avett brothers in an empty parking lot and playing some folk classics with them.

“These two guys showed up in a gold Ford Taurus station wagon wearing flannel shirts and cutoff pants. They were total grunge kids. We sat in the parking lot, just the three of us, and played ‘Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad’ and ‘More Pretty Girls Than One,'” Crawford said on theavettbrothers.com

The band went from “Nemo Back Porch Project” to the Avett Brothers and began touring in 2002, occasionally accompanied by Kwon. Regional success turned into national acclaim and the band opened for acts such as Dave Matthews Band in 2009 and John Mayer in 2010.

Rick Rubin, a producer who worked with legendary performers like Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond and Jay-Z, signed the band to his American/Columbia Records label in 2008, according to spin.com. From this union came the Avett Brothers’ highly-acclaimed 2009 album, “I and Love and You.”

“I and Love and You” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s folk albums chart and Rolling Stone magazine named the Avett Brothers “the Artist to Watch of 2009.” In an interview with Fuse on Demand, Seth Avett noted the thematically heavy material that was covered on the album and from where the inspiration for the title was drawn.

“For the record, I wanted a title that was grand … As I started to write the mission statement about it, just a lot of thoughts came up about the phrase itself, the phrase ‘I love you,’ which is, you know, arguably the most important phrase we have in any language. Every song we write, every day we live, that’s sort of the centerpiece of our existence,” Seth said.

The largest hits to come from the album thus far are its namesake song, “I and Love and You” and “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise.” Both exhibit the challenges faced during the transition from youth to adulthood and the seriousness that comes with growing older.

The Avett Brothers draw their material from their own life experiences and work to write songs that both they and the audience can relate to.

“I think on the whole the album makes some comment on the fact that we are young men, but that youth is fleeting and it goes by very quickly. When you’re moving out of your 20s and into this time when you’re hoping to build something, it’s a beautiful thing and a scary thing,” Seth Avett said on the band’s website.

The Avett Brothers kicked off their 2009 tour to promote the album at Indianapolis’s venue “The Vogue” and haven’t looked back since. Head to the Morris Performing Arts Center on Saturday and let the Avett Brothers guide you on the journey all students face when preparing for life after college.