About The Performance
When The Avett Brothers were sitting at home roughly eleven albums ago, staring at the cows in the backyard and pondering the elements of nature that have become a staple of their songs; it could have only been a dream for the two brothers to share a stage together at the legendary Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York City.
However, over only a decade later, things have changed drastically for the brothers as they've garnered a worldwide fan base and unmistakable catalog of songs that keeps fans coming back for more.
The bands latest album, "Magpie & The Dandelion", was recorded in Nashville, produced by the incomparable Rick Rubin and recently debuted at Number 5 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album is also comprised entirely of tracks recorded during sessions for the Avett's 2012 hit LP, "The Carpenter".
According to the band, "Magpie & The Dandelion" breathes vibes of "youthful wonderment". Seth Avett elaborated saying "There’s something about dogs, deer, wolves, cows, whatever where we sort of understand what it would be like, in a way, to be like that, whereas with birds we cannot fathom what it would be like to take flight. I think there’s something, not just in us, but in our culture. That’s the sense of wonderment. We look at birds, and we’re like, “What would it be like to jump off a cliff and just to fly?”
In the pre-show interview, The Avett's explained their approach towards putting together songs for the album, saying that the songs on Magpie were intended to be Carpenter extras, but as the band grew closer to the songs, they took on a whole new level of meaning and stood alone, telling their own story. In the end, the tracks were far too important to become b-sides and thus, "Magpie & The Dandelion" was born.
The band also went on to talk about 'Souls Like the Wheels', the only live cut on the album - saying that it is the only time the song was ever performed live and gives the record a sense of fragility and spontaneity.
With that, the band headed for the stage as fans filed into their seats. The lights then went down, Seth Avett introduced the band (as is Live on Letterman tradition), and just moments later, The Avett Brothers hit the legendary stage for a night of music that fans won't soon forget. The Avett's opened the show with the first track off their new album entitled 'Open Ended Lie'. The band then brought it back to the days of "I And Love And You" with a performance of 'Laundry Room'. The group then went into 'Down With The Shine' off "The Carpenter" and then hit fans with 'Another Is Waiting' as The Avett's belted "Another is waiting, she isn't saying anything".
Arguably the biggest surprise of the night was the bands performance of the 1850's bluegrass standard "Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel". As legend has it, the song was written by Dan Emmett, who debuted it at an 1853 New York minstrel show. The Avett's did the song a justice that had the ability to bring fans back to the roots of music, before publishing, copyrights and licensing were even standard procedure.
That wasn't all though, as The Avett Brothers would go on to perform songs like "Tear Down The Houses", "Famous Flower", and "Vanity". The band then closed out the show with an incredibly moving performance of 'I And Love And You' that arguably gave every member of the audience chills - and with that, another unforgettable 'Live on Letterman' was in the books!
By Gian Vassaliko