Preview: Avett Brothers at Red Butte

Let’s find something new to talk about. I’m tired of talking about my myself.

So say the lyrics of the Avett Brothers tune “Open Ended Life,” from an album released a couple years ago. But, as they make their way to Red Butte Garden on Tuesday night, on the heels of the release of their latest album True Sadness, fans should expect lots of talking about the Avetts. Because the main theme of the album, as you may have guessed, is heart-sickness and most of the songs were written in the wake of Seth’s fairly scandalous divorce.

For a good snapshot of the band’s evolution, compare the perhaps a little too on the nose “Divorce Separation Blues” from True Sadness to “Shame” from 2007’s Emotionalism. Both are about failed relationships—one is a self-centered view of how the end of a relationship affected the narrator while the other is a tender apology for cross words and poor judgement. I know which I prefer.


So, on their latest album the navel-gazing is more present than it was when the boys from North Carolina were writing a slew of bluegrassy songs titled “Pretty Girl From (insert town name here)” and the music has matured along with the subject matter, True Sadness features synthesizers. For those of us who are Avett fans, this is a Dylan Goes Electric moment and I know I’ll be interested to see how the new sounds are incorporated into their live show.

But, there’s good news! The Avett Brothers are always a rollocking good time.  Brothers Seth and Scott have endless energy, along with their ever-expanding band on stage. They play the hits, and their Utah crowds always know the back catalog. The harmonies area always tight. And even when the subject matter is less cheerful, Joe Kwan’s cello playing is sure to put a smile on your face.

The Avett Brothers play Red Butte Garden Tuesday, July 26th. Gates open at 6, the show starts at 7. Sold-out.

Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy is a former managing editor at Salt Lake magazine. Though she writes about everything, she has a particular interest in arts and culture in Utah. In the summer months, you will find her at any given outdoor concert on any given night. In the winter, you will find her wishing for summer. Follow her on social media at @whynotboth.

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