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Each week Time magazine asks a notable person what they’re reading, watching or listening

plays piano and drums. The brothers share most of the singing and songwriting duties. Crawford is the bassist, and Kwon plays cello.

David Butler

However you categorize the tunes, 2008 was a momentous year for the Avetts. The band released its 10th album, The Second Gleam, and continued building an ever-growing fan base through a grueling tour schedule. A visual artist as well as a musician, Scott showed paintings and other artwork at a gallery in New York City. On personal notes, he also became a father, and Seth got married. This year is shaping up as an even greater seminal period, with the much-anticipated new album and another heavy touring schedule on the way. The Avett Brothers will play several shows with the Dave Matthews Band, including an April 22 concert at Raleigh’s Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek and an April 24 show at Charlotte’s Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. With all of that ahead, Scott says it’s more important than ever for him to keep focused on the family values he learned growing up in Concord, N.C., and the work ethic that earned him two degrees from East Carolina.

to. In the Jan. 8 issue, John Grogan, author of the best-seller Marley & Me, said he’s listening to Emotionalism by the Avett Brothers: “I discovered the Avett Brothers while browsing in one of those iconic hippie shops in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. The album was playing on the store’s sound system, and I was instantly smitten. It is impossible not to grin while listening to this infectiously upbeat blend of folk, rock and bluegrass, all played on acoustic instruments and with whimsical, witty lyrics to boot.”

Interest in the visual arts also developed early, Scott says, recalling a game in which his father encouraged his children to create images out of simple shapes he would draw. “They had art around,” Seth Avett says of his parents. “We weren’t a family of means—there wasn’t a lot of money—but if we wanted to hear music, there was a record player in the living room. We could hear Dad playing guitar and singing to us. There were some art books in the bookshelves, and there was a lot of good literature around.” The brothers agree that the family bond has been essential in shaping who they are as people and as artists. “I’ve been very fortunate to grow up and realize how much that’s carried me,” Scott says. “Seth and I wouldn’t be able to do what we do if our parents hadn’t been so generous and forthcoming with supporting the music.”

“I can’t think about the big picture too much and what’s ahead because it’s way too overwhelming,” he says during an interview in his art studio in Concord, a suburb of Charlotte. “Day by day. That’s the key.” He credits his parents, Jim and Susie, for nurturing a love for family and the arts. A welder by trade, Jim Avett played guitar and had a collection of records and 8-tracks that he shared with his family. As children, Scott, Seth and sister Bonnie all learned to play the piano. Family sing-alongs were common, and the three siblings regularly sang with their father at church services. Some of those songs would make their way onto the 2008 album Jim Avett and Family, a collection of

“The earliest memories are of whatever my parents were listening to and my dad was playing. I always remember this sort of mid-’70s John Denver vibe, and Tom T. Hall. Those old country and country rock things were really inspiring, and they really impacted us as kids.”

Now a father himself, Scott says he even more deeply appreciates the importance of family as he and his wife, Sarah, tend to their infant daughter. “Our family has stepped up,” he says. “We just do things for each other. There’s no talk about how anybody needs favors returned or how anybody is on borrowed time or anything like that. As I get older, I realize how important that is.” gospel tunes featuring the Avett patriarch along with his children, as well as Crawford and Kwon. “As far back as our memory goes, it’s there,” Scott recalls of his first exposure to music.

Coming to Greenville At East Carolina, Scott found a home in the College of Fine Arts and Communication. In 1999, he earned a BS degree in communica­ tion. A year later, he earned a BFA degree in 17

East Spring 2009  

The magazine of East Carolina University.

East Spring 2009  

The magazine of East Carolina University.