The Avett Brothers, Live Vol. 3 [Album Review]

by oz on October 26, 2010

For anyone that has followed The Avett Brothers over the years, you know how special their shows have become. In 2009-2010, the band matured into one of the best live acts around and Live, Volume 3, with the help of Rick Rubin’s production, fully captures the essence of Avett. It’s more than a concert album or tour diary. This is a coming-of-age story of sorts, about an indie band that has worked for a decade to “make it,” and their return home to the loyal family of fans that have carried them along the way.

Live, Volume 3 is a hometown reunion recorded live in Charlotte, North Carolina on August 8th, 2009. This was one month prior to the release of their major label debut, I and Love and You, but this set featured music that spans their discography. The Avett Brothers open with “Pretty Girl From Matthews” from 2002’s Country Was followed by “Talk of Indolence” from Four Thieves Gone and “Ballad of Love and Hate” from Emotionalism. It’s a chronological progression that catches Seth Avett in the grips of emotion on the latter song, leaving us with a song title, “Ballad of False Start,” before regaining his composure for the full rendition. “I’m so happy right now I can barely stand it,” he says before asking for permission to start over.

Even with it’s false start, “Ballad of Love and Hate” works very well. The lyrics drift over the crowd and pull up the roaring cheers at all the right cues. “Colorshow” follows and it’s a song that has taken on a life of its own since first appearing on Four Thieves Gone, growing in violence and intensity. It’s part country, bluegrass, punk, metal, and the live setting is its natural habitat. It’s glorious and so is the murderous “I Killed Sally’s Lover” with its boot-stomping verses that each start with the lines “Somebody get my shotgun, somebody get my blade…” I’d pay full album price just to get these two songs.

And then theres the new favorites that include “I And Love And You,” “Head Full Of Doubt/Road Full of Promise,” and “The Perfect Space,” a song that features the most keenly felt lyrics on the album:

I want to have pride like my other has.
And not like the kind in the bible that turns you bad.
I want to have friends that I can trust.
That love me for the man I’ve become not the man that I was.

It’s after these lines, when the song ends, that Seth Avett states to the crowd, “I’m starting to wonder why we ever even leave.” The audience roars.  Therein lies the beauty of Live Vol. 3. It’s a phenomenal live album from a recording and production standpoint, but The Avett Brothers are so genuine in their fan appreciation that it’s hard not to love them more. If you were first introduced to The Avett Brothers with their latest release, I And Love And You, this album also serves as an avenue to discover past albums and the brilliance of their career thus far.

The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You

Video: The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You (live on Letterman)

Video: The Avett Brothers – Colorshow (Live in London back in 2007)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

mcatt October 28, 2010 at 2:32 pm

2 word response to vol. 3: more banjo…

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