This article is from Issue 58: Jul/Aug 2012

The Avett Bros.

The breakout indie-folk band on finding fame, keeping faith and getting props from Bob Dylan

Some artists’ stories begin with the long struggle to become famous—the years spent toiling in obscurity, honing their craft to the point that maybe more than their immediate family members show up for their gigs. Hundreds of shows played, tens of thousands of tour van miles traveled and thousands of autographs signed—this is the opening story for so many bands.

But for the Avett Brothers? That’s all true for them, too. But their story begins at home—in a kitchen and around a piano.

“I was keen on the idea of being famous,” says Scott Avett with a laugh. “From as long as I can remember, I danced around the kitchen.”

Scott is one-third of the Avett Brothers, and his memories of dancing around the kitchen aren’t his alone. From the time they were small children, Scott and his brother, Seth, played music together and imagined they would one day have a band.

“I would dance around and sing and pretend that one day, somebody would break down from the big places and maybe wander over to our house to see if they could borrow our phone. They’d look in the window and see me prancing around and say, ‘We found a star!’ Beyond that, which is totally a kid dreaming, I was never under any belief that what we were doing was leading toward something. There was never any sort of formula.”

That lack of formula has clearly paid off. For a band with beginnings near the dish rack, the Avett Brothers—which includes Scott, alongside bio- logical brother/guitarist Seth Avett, honorary sibling/upright bassist Bob Crawford, and tour- ing members cellist Joe Kwon and drummer Jacob Edwards— have gotten more than their share of accolades, and not just from a patient mother trying to clear the table. They caught the attention of super-producer Rick Rubin, who produced their biggest album to date, 2009’s I and Love and You. And in 2011, they got the endorsement that matters more than probably any other in music: Bob Dylan’s.

To top it all off? That endorse- ment occurred on music’s big- gest stage, the Grammy Awards.

“When I saw them live, it struck me how great they were,” says Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich. “I really wanted to put them on the show. It seems like three and a half hours would be enough time to put everyone you want on. But every year, we find ourselves not having enough time to do some of the stuff we want to do.”

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