In Focus: The Avett Brothers Bring Old Memories, New Music to CMAC

CMAC kicked off its summer concert season in a big way on Friday, May 24, with the much anticipated return by The Avett Brothers.  The Avett Brothers, who last performed at CMAC in 2019, were joined by Sierra Ferrell.  

It has been a long road for The Avett Brothers, now in their 24th year together.  The North Carolina natives released their 11th studio album earlier this month, a self titled collection of ballads and rollicky folk-rock tracks which have helped the band build their passionate and devoted fanbase.

The evening kicked off with a brilliant set by Sierra Ferrell.  Ferrell wasted no time getting the audience out of their seats and dancing along to her unique blend of folk and latin sounds.  Seth Avett joined Ferrell early in the set to duet on the Steven Fromholz classic “I’d Have to be Crazy”, much to the joy of those in attendance.  Ferrell closed out her set with the raucous “Fox Hunt”, which had the energy in the amphitheater boiling over like a pot of water.  

After a short set change over, the Avett Brothers took the stage and wasted no time showcasing the beautiful harmonies fans have grown accustomed to. The band opened with an acapella duet between brothers Scott and Seth.  The sounds segued brilliantly in to the opening track, the beautiful ballad, “Never Apart” off the band’s latest release.  The band got the party moving next with the wild “Satan Pulls the Strings” which saw each band member taking a turn at the front of the stage to showcase their talents. 

Through out the evening, the band brilliantly wove their new music with older fan favorites. The stunning new track “Cheap Coffee” held strong along side classic tracks like “Murder in the City”, “The Ballad of Love and Hate,” and “Laundry Room”.

Late in the set, the brothers reminisced on their past performances in the area.  They spoke of their love for Canandaigua, and having vacationed there last year.  The two praised the audience for the love and devotion they have shown the band since day one, a love not always reciprocated by the media.  “Every night Seth says to me, ‘I love you, goodnight.’  We did not always get that from the media.  Some of them loathed us.  Some even compared us to muppets,” Scott proclaimed. With that, the stage lights dimmed on the band and a spotlight shone on ‘The Avetts’, a muppet version of the band, complete with their own instruments.  ‘The Avetts’ would perform two tracks (with the brothers performing stage left, out of the spotlight), offering a reminder to never take yourself too seriously.

As the evening closed with the heartfelt “No Hard Feelings”, the band was met with a standing ovation, cheers, high fives and fist bumps. The message the audience sent back to the Avett Brothers was simple.

“We love you, goodnight”.

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