The Avett Brothers Showcase New Songs at Hotel Bar

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Added by September 27, 2013

By Jonathan Bernstein //

Sept. 26, 2013

Band previews ‘Magpie and the Dandelion’ songs for PBS taping


“This has been an interesting show, I feel like I’ve learned so much,” Scott Avett announced toward the end of the Avett Brothers’ set Wednesday night at New York City’s McKittrick Hotel. The show was a taping for PBS’s Front and Center and provided a rare intimate setting for a band as they performed for a small group at what was essentially a hotel bar. The group took the moment to preview a slew of tracks from their new album Magpie and the Dandelion (out October 15th). Struggling with one’s own sincerity has been a source of recurring tension in much of the Avett Brothers’ greatest material, and the new songs provided a fresh take on that theme. “I’ve got love pouring out of my veins, but it’s all vanity,” Seth Avett sang during “Vanity,” in a telling shout of self-doubt and struggle.

Earlier in the night, Scott echoed his brother’s insecure lack of emotion during the gorgeous, new tune “Morning Song,” singing “It’s alright if you finally stop caring, just don’t go and tell someone that does.” The performance reinforced the notion that for a band whose closest mainstream contemporaries prioritize the importance of earnest expression, the most interesting conflict in the Avett Brother’s music is this sense of struggle and worry over one’s own fragile sincerity.

When the North Carolina group wasn’t leaning on, or learning from, the delicate introspection of its new material, it relied on traditional harmony and ancient melody to do the teaching. The band shifted between American music preservationists, touching on gospel during “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” traditional folk in “Shady Grove” and the traditional-leaning country of David Childers’ “Prettiest Thing.” They looked newly inspired and rejuvenated by their traditional roots.

Midway through the show, Scott paused for a brief moment of reflection. “This is very fun for us, to be playing in a room like this,” he said, less amazed by the night’s intimacy than by the fact that playing in such a room was now considered novel. “We played one time at [Lower East Side bar] Arlene’s Grocery, there was probably one person watching us,” he recalled. They then began “A Father’s First Spring,” a calm, sweet recent tune about newfound parenthood, and for just a quick moment, the Avett Brothers’ self-awareness seemed blissfully resolved.


“Live and Die”
“Laundry Room”
“Old Joe Clark”
“Down With the Shine”
“Another Is Waiting”
“Morning Song”
“Go to Sleep”
“Prettiest Thing”
“Ballad of Love and Hate”
“Just a Closer Walk With Thee”
“Apart From Me”
“A Father’s First Spring”
“I and Love and You”

“Murder in the City”
“Shady Grove”
“If It’s the Beaches”


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  1. Shay
    Shay 10 January, 2014, 19:11

    We’re glad you were able to be there for the filming! That episode will be in Season 3, which begins in April. Final air dates are being decided now and we will post here on the site as soon as they are confirmed.

  2. kim
    kim 6 April, 2014, 04:10

    Do you know if this will be airing in NC? I see that it aired in NY tonight. Thanks again!

  3. Shay
    Shay 6 April, 2014, 16:21

    We have not announced Season 3 yet, but when we do, we will provide a link where you can go to see what stations near you are airing the show and when. Stay tuned!

  4. Kristin
    Kristin 11 April, 2014, 20:15

    When will this air and how do I find out when it will air on my local station?

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