The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers

St. Paul and The Broken Bones

Sat Apr 1, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm (event ends at 12:00 am)

$45.27 - $1,019.86

This event is all ages

The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
March 10, 2016 Re: True Sadness

Dear Friends,

In the years since my brother and I began singing together, the definitions of both life and artistry have changed dramatically. There used to be a line separating the two — a division between the pursuit of music and what we recognized as our daily lives. Intrinsically, one would have to pause in order for the other to continue. When this line was visible, in order for us to write, perform, and chase a musically driven livelihood, we would depart from our lives as we knew them, often abruptly and with some difficulty. Alternately, when we were present for the events of which life is conventionally comprised (birthdays and weddings of family members, weekly grocery store trips, daytime jobs, etc.), music would have to wait. It would stop so we could maintain a familiar momentum — one wherein bills were paid, goals were met, hometown relationships were maintained, and the stability through being in one place was felt and appreciated.

Our lives were fine. Our music was okay. In retrospect, I understand the two were bound together — the nourishment of each eventually benefiting both, though at the time, it seemed as if neither could progress in the wake of the other.

That was over three thousand shows ago. Eight albums ago. Hundreds of thousands of miles ago. A million albums have been sold and twice as many shared or given away. There have been high and low profile performances, television appearances, international tours, alliances made and strengthened, songs written and rehearsed — called complete and revised again anyway. Over time, we watched the celebratory frenzy once experienced only in the bars and restaurants of our early years erupt through the grand audiences of arenas, festivals, and amphitheaters across the world. Our name, once an afterthought on a xeroxed restaurant calendar in Hoboken, now in lights on the marquee at Madison Square Garden.

Something else happened in the 16 years that passed. Though we left home a thousand times, life continued. We finished college. We kept and made new and dear friendships. Lessons were learned, forgotten, repeated. The concepts of marriage, as well as divorce, became realities. Babies were born. Homes were built. We saw loved ones fight cancer in seemingly every form imaginable. We saw this battle won and lost — souls victorious in either outcome. We allowed these concepts to take root in our lives, and when they would allow it, we wrote songs with and for them. The stage and the instrumentation grew, matching our relatively unhurried and sometimes clumsy growth as people. We set upon a purposeful path of revision, attempting to embrace the changes we saw in ourselves as well as our artistic endeavors. Somewhere along the way, the line between music and life faded. The change was imperceptible at first. Then, when we weren't paying attention, it evaporated altogether.

With the disappearance of this division, the songs have become increasingly reflective in their nature. It could be argued that this has always been the case with us; the songs are open, honest, and to some extent, autobiographically accurate. I know this to be true. Though it does occur to me now, that in some regard, before any professional success, we were perhaps paradoxically more self-aware. The songs would show mere versions of ourselves — the heartbroken introvert, the frantic worker, the forlorn traveler, the philosopher, the romantic, the loner — all somehow imbued with the meaningful sheepishness of a James Dean character. We used to hope and vie for that attention, that perceived personality, that coolness. It was a safer way of showing ourselves, honesty filtered through the colorful lens of young men hoping not only to entertain, but to present themselves in the most favorable light possible. I believe we have, in the course of our artistic wanderings, methodically taken this lens away, to the betterment of our songs, and to the conviction of our course. It is with this current focus and harmony between art and living that we pen our songs. And it is in this state of resolution we share our ninth full length studio album.

Scott and I lead different lives, but we are, as we have always been, fully invested in each other's story. Consequently, the variety in our authorship maintains a unity which otherwise would be unattainable. We write together and separately, but we are forever in fellowship through the music. Our ventures into narrative and poetry are always served best with the full support of each other — two sources, one voice. Every record we make is a testament to this, regardless of how it is executed or to what musical landscape it is released.

True Sadness is a patchwork quilt, both thematically and stylistically. Wherein a myriad of contrasting fabrics make perfect sense on the same plane, this album draws upon countless resources from its writers and performers. To further propel the expansive color and textural fields of the record, we are blessed to play and perform music with a group of musicians who possess not only great talent, but great interpretive ability. They are an extension of our family and their care for the work at hand (and the project at large) informs a dynamic musical contribution to any piece we proudly give our last name. Sonically, the album is as multidimensional as its makers. The same could be said of its long list of influences. So the quilt is sewn, in part, with the brightly colored threads of Queen, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Jimmie Rodgers, Tom Petty, Nine Inch Nails, Gillian Welch, Aretha Franklin, Walt Disney, Pink Floyd, Kings of Convenience, calypso of the 1950s and country of the 1930s. Rock and roll is here, as always. There are moments of undeniable celebration and camaraderie, others of quiet and lonely exhalation. Throughout the album, we stitched together the boldest red and the calmest green, polka dots and stripes, the roughest denim and the smoothest velveteen. They came together because they are the best patterns we have and because each of us brought our own fabric to the quilting frame.

We made this record as people who have made records together before — with experienced hands, appreciative hearts, renewed focus, and the knowledge of our good fortune to make music once again.

On June 24th, we will share with the world this work, these songs, and a contemporary chapter of our lives.

-Seth Avett
The Avett Brothers
St. Paul and The Broken Bones
Sea of Noise, the second full-length album by St. Paul and the Broken Bones, marks a quantum leap in sound and style for the high-voltage Birmingham, Alabama-based band.

Produced by Paul Butler and recorded at Nashville's Sound Emporium, the group's sophomore effort features an expanded eight-piece lineup of the widely praised soul-based rock unit. Longtime members Paul Janeway (lead vocals), Jesse Phillips (bass, guitar), Browan Lollar (guitars), Andrew Lee (drums), Al Gamble (keyboards), and Allen Branstetter (trumpet) are joined by Jason Mingledorff (saxophone, clarinet, flute), and Chad Fisher (trombone).

The collection of new original songs is the group's first release on RECORDS, a joint venture of SONGS Publishing, winner of ASCAP's 2016 independent publisher of the year award, and veteran label executive Barry Weiss.

Sea of Noise is a successor to the Broken Bones' 2013 debut album Half the City, which introduced the group's blazing mating of '60s soul fire – daubed with latter-day influences like Sly Stone, David Bowie, and Prince — to Janeway's impassioned singing and writing. The new album witnesses a deepening and broadening of the unit's musical reach and lyrical concerns.

"It felt like it happened organically," Janeway says of the band's development. "With the last record, it was like doing things with your hair on fire – going in, recording it live. There's a sense of urgency to having a record like that. We were only a band for about five months at that point. I didn't know my voice – I'd never done this professionally. I was just learning more nuance, and about carrying a melody. You don't have to go for it 100% all the time. You can draw people in by giving and taking."

Janeway says that he and his close musical associate Phillips began to ponder the direction of the band's second album a year and a half ago. "If we had been forced to go into a studio a year and a half ago, we probably would have done a better version of Half the City," he says. "There would have been nothing wrong with that. But we started evolving, or changing."

Work began in earnest during last year's Coachella festival in California: "We rented a house in San Bernardino Valley National Park. The week in between the two weekends, we really started to hash things out. Then we rented out a very hot warehouse in Birmingham where we could write. And me and Jesse and a few of us would send stuff back and forth via Dropbox. That gave me the ability to work on harmonies on the vocals. I wanted to take it up a notch, in all realms."

Looking to such inspirations as Tom Waits and Nick Cave, Janeway was intent on lifting his game as a songwriter on material for the second album. "I'm married to a woman with a masters in literature, and I can't show her lyrics unless I'm pretty proud of 'em," he says. "I had to sit and think about what I'm saying – what do I want to say, is there anything to say? What's my perspective as this Southern kid who's watching the modern world and feeling very much like an alien in a lot of ways. This is more personal. If you're going to say something, say something, and don't waste your breath unless you feel like you're saying something."

Janeway adds that his reading of the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, played a role in the direction of the work: "I didn't want it to be an overly political record, but I feel it shows up a little bit on the album."

With a full complement of new songs in hand, St. Paul and the Broken Bones entered the studio with Butler, leader of the British band the Bees and producer of Devendra Banhart and Michael Kiwanuka.

"Jesse was listening to one of his records and he said, 'Everything sounds great,'" Janeway recalls. "It sounded like a real record – everything had depth, and was expansive-sounding. Butler ended up being the guy that we wanted to use. Producer-wise, I think we knocked a home run. He is very meticulous."

On Sea of Noise, the band's brawny horn-driven sound is augmented – and displaced — by the use of a string quartet and a vocal choir. The strings – recorded at Memphis' historic Sam Phillips Recording by engineer Jeff Powell – were arranged by Lester Snell, a veteran of Stax Records sessions by Isaac Hayes, Shirley Brown, Albert King, and the Staple Singers, among many others. Janeway says of Snell, "He did all these classic, great records in Memphis – he did the string arrangements on them. The strings, for us, supply a darker tone. Horns sometimes can't portray a certain darkness. We thought that would be the best option, instead of horn lines. We have songs on this record that don't have any horns at all."

Employed on "Crumbling Light Posts," the recurring motif that appears three times on the album, Jason Clark and the Tennessee Mass Choir were recorded in another legendary Memphis facility. "The Stax Museum let us go in there after hours and record the choir," Janeway says, adding with a laugh. "We said, 'Well, hell, we're in Memphis, let's just see if they'll do it.' It was pretty neat, I'm not gonna lie."

He says of the finished work, "Sea of Noise is not quite a full-blown concept record. It is focused in terms of subject matter – finding redemption and salvation and hope. 'Crumbling Light Posts' comes from an old Winston Churchill quote, in which he said England was a crumbling lighthouse in a sea of darkness. I always thought that was a really interesting concept – that we're falling anyway. In this day and age, it is the noise that has defined so many things. We're going to fall to it eventually, but for now we feel like our heads are above water. It felt anthemic."

The album's lyrical and emotional richness is heard loudly in stunning new compositions like "Burning Rome" (which Janeway describes as "a letter to God, if I could write it") and the startling "I'll Be Your Woman," which knocks traditional soul music gender roles on their heads. Janeway says of the latter song, "I wrote that with Jesse, and he said, 'If I can write that song, I can die a happy man, because I've finally made something that I feel can stand up to my standards.'"

St. Paul and the Broken Bones, which toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe behind their debut album, will put their take-no-prisoners live show on the road this fall. Their most recent concert work included arena dates opening for the Rolling Stones in Atlanta and Buffalo. Some acts may have been daunted by such a task, but not this one.

"It was pretty neat, it was pretty crazy," Janeway says. "I love the Rolling Stones, but my train of thought is, you gotta try and blow 'em off the stage. And that's still my goal."
Venue Information:
Whitewater Amphitheater
11860 FM 306
New Braunfels, TX, 78133
http://www.whitewaterrocks.com/