Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

So what is an effective ol’ North Carolina boy considering when he information an album of songs by Greg Brown, a comparatively unsung singer-songwriter from Iowa? It’s people music, says Seth Avett. Music for all of us. “I really feel like there’s a blue-collar component to Midwestern music that connects with Southern roots music, blues music,” he says over Zoom. “People music doesn’t imply it needs to be Woody Guthrie. Calypso is people music. Hip-hop is people music as a result of it connects to a large number of individuals.” 


Now seventy-three, Brown, like his extra well-known Midwestern-raised peer John Prine, is a eager observer of the human situation, a slice-of-life songwriter with a penchant for absurdism. Whereas Seth was on tour together with his brother Scott for his common gig as co-founder of the roots music powerhouse the Avett Brothers, he would arrange recording tools in his lodge room on a day without work and play no matter got here to thoughts. Steadily it was a Greg Brown music, and he realized there was a chance to showcase Brown’s music to a bigger viewers with a full album, Seth Avett Sings Greg Brown. “I actually suppose Greg is without doubt one of the biggest songwriters of the final forty years,” he says. “His lyricism retains me linked spiritually, and it retains me linked to this world on the similar time. I simply wished to indicate my love for his music.”

At present, Backyard & Gun is proud to premiere the observe “Only a Bum,” one in every of Brown’s greatest songs, with Avett bringing a extra melodic, softer vocal than Brown’s gruffer voice within the unique. Take heed to the music beneath, and browse on to listen to extra from Avett about Brown and songs that talk the reality. Seth Avett Sings Greg Brown is out this Friday, November 4, and out there for preorder right here.

Whilst you had been rising up you listened to numerous ’90s rock, and your early reveals had been punk gigs, so when did you uncover Greg Brown? 

Every thing was form of taking place collectively. I had met Doc Watson once I was 13, and that turned me on to American roots music. And the heavy music and basic rock that I cherished was nonetheless rising. Kurt Cobain was nonetheless alive. However there was one thing about Greg’s music that felt extra fast and present to my emotions and the poetry of the second. Whereas once I was discovering Doc, he was nonetheless alive and nicely and killing it, however the music felt of one other time.

John Prine had an actual renaissance within the years earlier than he handed away, however Greg Brown continues to be principally a secret.

He’s, and I feel there are numerous elements to attribute that to. One in all them is that Greg, I imply, so far as I do know him now, it’s onerous to think about him chasing something. It’s onerous to see ambition in him. He’s a pure born sage. He doesn’t have that frantic vitality. He doesn’t want consideration. His calling was to make music, create issues, make information, however I don’t suppose that he was referred to as in any technique to develop his reputation.

And that’s clearly a aware determination. In some unspecified time in the future it’s important to resolve whether or not you’re gonna go for it and play 150 dates a 12 months, proper? 

Completely. There’s a query of what you’re comfy with. We’re in a tradition now the place self-promotion doesn’t include disgrace. I feel Greg Brown is placing out, for my part, among the greatest songwriting on this planet, and it’s taking place below the radar. There’s not numerous glitz and glamour there. Lots of these songs are six minutes lengthy, seven minutes lengthy, they usually’re telling the reality. We don’t at all times wish to hear the reality.

Greg has launched round thirty information, and I learn a evaluate that stated even when there’s a music you dislike, there’s in all probability a line or flip of phrase that sticks with you. 

Completely. I like that he has so many information and that each music isn’t the best music you’ve ever heard. However another lesson that I’ve gotten from Greg is that’s not the purpose. You may get the identical factor from Dylan. You’re making music that’s pure and honest and you may share it if you would like, however don’t maintain onto it and be so treasured about it that you simply put one report out each twelve years and there’s solely 9 songs. 

I’ve at all times thought that the signal of an excellent songwriter is the power to jot down one thing and have individuals from all types of walks of life and locations discover one thing to carry onto in that music. 

Have a look at Tom T. Corridor, man. There’s specificity in a few of his writing that makes you marvel how may it presumably be relatable? However it’s. Merle Haggard had a couple of songs the place it’s clearly about his life, but it surely’s not unique. It’s inclusive, you already know? That’s a particular factor. Greg is candid about his life. He’s in his seventies and has seen rather a lot: heartbreak and ache, struggling and pleasure. He writes from his personal private story, however he has allowed himself to be a supply and a channel for the larger image.

What’s it about “Only a Bum” that speaks to you? 

“Only a Bum” kind of skates that line of great and playful. It’s peanut butter and jelly. It’s these nice, nice flavors, you already know, that occur concurrently. I actually love when depressing ideas will be offered in a extra joyous manner. Greg is one in every of my nice lecturers. He’s so unassuming and humble. He’s by no means acquired the quantity of validation by way of the success that he ought to have. I simply flat out inform him: “You’re one in every of my heroes.” And to him, that’s very humorous.

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