Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers' melding of bluegrass, country and punk defies boundaries as much as expectations. The North Carolina trio made up of brothers Scott and Seth Avett (banjo and guitar, respectively) and upright bassist Bob Crawford stomps a raucous fury of high-octane strings and shouts offset by poignant ballads of love and loss, their shows often erupting like a dark-holler CBGB's. "When we started, we thought we were kind of a traditional band," laughs Scott. "I think that now it's clear that we're not really a vehicle for tradition. However, there are elements of it in what we do. We're obviously products of the '90s, and also where we're from." True to its name, the band's fifth studio release, Emotionalism (Ramseur), treads more sentimental terrain, though their improvised set lists still unfold according to the crowd's reaction. "We try to make the shows dynamic," offers Scott. "We love playing the theaters that really call for an opportunity to play the songs that you never get to play in the rock clubs; the sensitivity of them, the fragile nature of them, doesn't get processed in rooms like that. But we like that the shows can go either way, raging throughout or being very quiet."

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