"It is a symbol of what he and his brother Seth say the song is about -- not a lost love, but the growing distance that success has put between them and their audience. It's a rare occurrence now for them to sit at a bar after a show and chat with fans; after some shows, too many fans show up at the bus for them to even shake all their hands."This is a nice piece by the AP that touches on a big part of what makes the Avetts so darn appealing (aside from, you know, the music). They appear to be fairly normal guys who had an upbringing not dissimilar to you or I. Of course, they've now sold hundreds of thousands of albums.
The Avetts have had "their best commercial success with their eighth CD, 'I and Love and You,' which was produced by Grammy-winning producer Rick Rubin, whose credits range from Johnny Cash to the Dixie Chicks to Jay-Z."
The album has sold 181,000 copies in the United States, according to their record label, and garnered plenty of critical acclaim. It was named Paste magazine's best of 2009 and one of the best of the decade.
Their concerts in medium-sized venues sell out across the country, and they started their first major international tour in mid-March with performances sold out in London, Amsterdam and Dublin. They're now performing mostly at festivals in the United States, Great Britain and Canada through September.
The guys in the band -- which includes one non-brother, Bob Crawford -- describe themselves as overthinking romantics who don't really excel at vocals or playing their instruments, although they hope to improve at the latter. Their popularity lies both in their deeply emotional lyrics and their unusual sound. It's a mixture of pop, country and grunge influenced by the country music that their parents listened to, and the music they embraced as youths -- Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Hall and Oates, Michael Jackson and Boy George.
"We grew up in the country, and country living didn't exactly promote the Ramones. That just doesn't fit," says Scott, 33. "But when you're 14 years old, you don't really care what fits in the country. I bet you anything there are 14 years old in Brooklyn who are going straight to Hank Williams. That's what they want to go to. Rebellion, that's given."
But that country upbringing kicked in eventually as the brothers realized, over time, that "we had a yearning to write songs about things that were understandable and relatable, which is a great jump," says Seth, 29. ...The Avetts like to think that success hasn't changed their lives. Both married, they live with their own families outside Concord, about 40 miles northeast of Charlotte, near the 60-acre farm where they grew up. Cows, dogs and roosters are part of the landscape at their parents' home, where, until just this year, the brothers were as likely to be found rolling hay as writing songs. As they sing in the barn during this interview, the cows' moos override the music, and Scott tosses two bales to the muck below to quiet their complaints. ...