No strings attached

When trying to pigeonhole the Avett Brothers, critics cautiously throw around terms like “string band” and “folk rock” in an attempt to place the North Carolina acoustic trio into a tidy niche.

The thing is, they’ve outgrown it.

“We never considered ourselves any of those things, but I can see where people could have that impression of us,” bassist Bob Crawford says. “We were acoustic in instrumental lineup, and we used to play many of those old songs—‘Old Joe Clark,’ ‘Tom Dooley,’ ‘Diamond Joe.’ However, it didn’t take long for us to begin cultivating original music. Once that happened any comparison to the string bands or the like quickly fell away.”

With each release since their 2000 debut, Scott and Seth Avett along with Crawford have been honing their song craft by adding subtle texture to their initial homespun sound without sacrificing the timelessness of their songs. “I think you work with what you have,” Crawford explains. “In the past all we had were those instruments and our voices, and so that is what we made music with. More and more, we have access to more things to create with, so we will continue to experiment with new sounds and all the potential of the studio. The goal is that the truth of what we write comes through.”

The Avett Brothers will perform April 29 at the Manship Theatre in support of their latest album, Emotionalism, which netted Album of the Year at the 2007 Americana Music Awards. theavettbrothers.com