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Seth Avett (from the album Seth Avett Sings Gregg Brown available on Ramseur Records/Thirty Tigers) (by Lee Zimmerman)
It’s well worth remembering that our music idols have music idols of their own. Such was the case that inspired Seth Avett' s touching tribute to his hero, his new album, Seth Avett Sings Greg Brown. For those left unaware, Gregg Brown is a fabled Folk singer/songwriter with a heartland pedigree, one that’s owed to his Midwest origins, Iowa to be precise. Known only in limited circles, he's well respected among his peers as a most literate lyricist and deeply impactful artist and performer. It’s hardly surprising then that Seth Avett would opt for an opportunity to dedicate another of his solo sojourns beyond the confines of the Avett Brothers to Brown's music.
For those who haven't heard Brown on his own, Avett's album offers an excellent introduction. While Seth's vocals - mournful, expressive, and decidedly demonstrative -- are often in contrast with Gregg's darker delivery, the emotion and meaning remain intact. Opening track "The Poet Game" is a perfect case in point. A song that's more prescient than ever, somewhat remarkably considering the fact it was written nearly 30 years ago, it deals with pressing social issues -- civil rights, gender equality etc. -- in a way that resonates from a personal perspective.
‘Why does good change take so long?
Why does the color of your skin
or who you choose to love
still lead to such anger and pain?’
Other tracks — “I Slept All Night By My Lover”, “My New Book”, “Tenderhearted Child”, “Telling Stories”, “Laughing River”, and “The Iowa Waltz” — are similarly affecting. Still, there’s room for some mirth as well, as shared in such songs as “You Drive Me Crazy” and “Good Morning Coffee” in particular.
Notably, this isn’t Seth Avett’s only homage to one of his heroes. An earlier effort with Jessica Lea Mayfield, succinctly titled Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith, was released in 2015. Still this collection of Gregg Brown songs offers a telling glimpse at one of his iconic influences, and anyone with an appreciation of the Avett’s in general should find cause to pay it some heed. (By Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Seth Avett from AMAZON
Please go to the Seth Avett website for more purchase and artist information
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