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Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Avett Brothers: Live At The Double Door Inn


1) A Lot Of Moving; 2) Diamond Joe; 3) Sorry Man; 4) Will The Circle Be Unbroken; 5) Jenny And The Summer Day; 6) Pretty Girl From Matthews; 7) Avett Brothers Monologue; 8) I'll Fly Away; 9) Let Myself Live; 10) Novem­ber Blue; 11) My Losing Bet; 12) Gamblin' Man; 13) Cripple Creek; 14) Kind Of In Love; 15) Beside The Yellow Line.

As the title suggests without much fuss, this is the Avetts' first live album (out of, perhaps, some­what too many), recorded at some seedy joint that usually promotes itself as «The Oldest Live Music Venue East of the Mississippi», even though its founding year is generally listed as 1973 — go figure. Unless, of course, there's no land east of the Mississippi other than Carolina, a view­point that would go down nicely with some people, I believe.

Since the Avetts had not yet mastered the true art of studio polish, the live show is not altogether different from their concurrent studio work. The setlist reproduces most of Country Was, cozily cutting down on the last two numbers which I, too, thought were the weakest of the lot; throws on a couple extra numbers from the debut EP; previews one track from Carolina Jubilee; and, for collectors' sake, includes a few traditional numbers.

None of this is essential. The originals are not going to present themselves in any sort of new light, and a few are marred by flubbed notes and a bit of off-key singing as well; and the traditio­nals are fun, but only a deranged diehard will take a serious interest in these versions of 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken' and 'Cripple Creek' — decent ear candy for the hard-working bar-goer who loves a bit of folk music to help him wash down his Budweiser.

Occasionally, these things gain an additional charm factor due to cute bits of banter, but the Avetts merely manage to come across as friendly, easy-going chaps, able to work up the audience into an acceptive state. Their understanding of humour does not get them much further than the line "eight dollars, eight songs — you do the math", which they then repeat after each third song or so (sometimes adding that "I personally cannot do the math"). Okay then. All in all, a decent, steady performance with a clearly expressed party spirit, but nothing essential.

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