A magpie isn’t just any old bird; it’s one of the few animals that can recognize itself in a mirror. Any animal that can recognize itself in a mirror probably has a strong sense of self.
The Avett Brothers, similarly, isn’t just any old band. And with its latest album, Magpie and the Dandelion, its members show that they, too, have strong senses of self.
“We know we are aging, and we have been extremely fortunate to have the careers we have had,” said Bob Crawford, bass player for The Avett Brothers. “But we know our days are numbered. Even if we got thirty more years out of this career, our days are numbered. We want to maintain honesty in our songwriting, our live performances and in [ourselves].”
Crawford has been with the band since the beginning. Playing the bass and contributing to the vocals, Crawford said this tour, promoting Magpie and the Dandelion, is different from their tours in the past.
“We have seven people on stage,” Crawford said. “It is quite an ensemble — it gives you a range of possibilities. We have five, six people singing at the same time now. We have never had that kind of dynamic to our shows before.”
The added dynamic allows the group to maintain the honesty that permeates its music. It also creates a connection with the audience. Crawford said the bridge The Avett Brothers build to their fans is far from the norm.
“I do not know if it came from us
after a show going and talking to everyone in the crowd and forming
great friendships early on or if the honesty of the music is a part of
it,” Crawford said. “We have a very unique relationship [with our
honest — and often sad — songs are brothers Scott and Seth Avett.
Crawford said both are always writing, sometimes putting certain songs
on the back burner only to be revisited down the road.
and Seth are prolific songwriters. Let’s face it,” Crawford said. “None
of us can fathom how many songs are being worked on.”
Magpie and the Dandelion was recorded at the same time as the album that preceded its release, The Carpenter. Crawford said the band actually went in with enough songs for two albums when they recorded The Carpenter. And while it might be unintentional, The Avett Brothers are having a similar issue with the new music they are working on.
“You don’t want to go in with more than 32 songs, which is what we did [when recording The Carpenter],” Crawford
said. “We are demoing right now, and we may have the same problem this
next time around. But we are really going to try to go in and slim it
down and get the cream of the crop.”