Scott and Seth Avett have bluegrass in their blood, but the pair actually cut their teeth on old-fashioned rock 'n' roll. Reared on North Carolina country music by their father, a welder, the Avetts dallied in heavy metal and rock in high school and college, respectively — experiences that informed their current compositions with an eclecticism that often eludes many acoustic-based groups. Indeed, 2007's Emotionalism, the band's fifth and finest LP, bears hallmarks of folk, rock, pop and even punk leanings, all filtered through the brothers' heart-on-sleeve aesthetic. Opening song "Die Die Die" sketches out a spare blueprint for the rest of the affecting album: warm guitar and cool banjo acting as counterpoint for Scott's honest lead vocal and Seth's rising harmony, with bassist Bob Crawford's steady undercurrent rounding out the trio. Seth has christened their songwriting process "a collective mind," referring to the siblings' habit of working on compositions simultaneously, one hammering out the chorus while the other fiddles around with a verse. They built their name the same way, on marathon tours and at hoedown shows preserved online via hundreds of fan-recorded YouTube videos.
Their first album to be recorded in a professional studio, Emotionalism — some of which was recorded on the first take — made an admirer out of super-producer Rick Rubin, who last year signed the band to his American Recordings imprint, a subsidiary of Sony BMG/Columbia. The Avetts are currently putting the finishing touches on I and Love and You, their major label debut, which is due later this summer.
4:15 p.m. Sun., April 26
Fais Do-Do Stage
Shame - The Avett Brothers