The Avett Brothers 'Live, Volume 3' Sony Music

The first thing you need to know about the Avett Brothers is that they write great songs and play them with gusto. Especially in front of a live audience as this album attests. This is their 14th release since 2000 and their third live album as the titles shows. Four of those release were EPs so that leaves 7 albums proper over which they have developed their sound and skills. Ostensibly a trio of guitar, banjo and double bass they were first viewed as some form of mutant punk bluegrass and while those elements exists there's a whole lot more to their sound. Here they are augmented by Mile Marsh on drums and Joe Kwon on cello, add that to the combined fire power of piano, kick drum, banjo, guitar, electric and upright bass and they can bring a lot of texture and sonic possibilities to their live sound. Recorded in front of a loving partisan home crowd in North Carolina in 2009 they run through a set of songs drawn from their albums to date making it a good introduction to the band and their talents. But as I mentioned it's the songs that will last and broaden their audience. Highlights include The Ballad Of Love and Hate, I and Love and You, Shame, Murder In The City but they hardly flag throughout and obviously draw from the energy of the audience and return that energy in a sterling, emotional performance. Scott, Seth Avett and Bob Crawford all sing and those vocals are central to what makes them special, either singing solo or as a unit or adding harmonies, it is a special sound that with the backing of the major label they are now signed to should see them moving from their devoted cult following to something much broader. If not they can be proud of their legacy of fine music and some memorable and lasting songs that have some exceptional lyrics and tunes.