“When I started out, I was a solo folk singer who wanted to Joan Baez. I realized I couldn’t be Joan because she was already taken, so I had to find my own way.” – Emmylou Harris
This is what country is supposed to be like, in all its glory. With a bluegrass folk vibe, the Grammy winning artist, 13 and counting, Emmylou Harris shined as she opened for The Avett Brothers on their first night of a two night residency at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre on Friday July 24. It was truly the perfect musical pairing having these two acts share the same stage.
“What a beautiful evening it is, perfect weather – no rain.” Emmylou Harris exclaimed to the eagerly happy audience.
With the epitome of graciousness, Harris exclaimed in a generous tone “Rodney said he wrote it for me,” as she introduced her ever popular “Even Cowboys Gets The Blues.” There’s a touch of sadness and a heart ache to the edge of Harris’ voice that melds so wonderfully with the steel guitar, especially when she sang “Michelangelo,” “Prayer in Open D” and “Green Pastures.”
The Americana, folk loving Avett Brothers took the Verizon Wireless stage full of so much vigor for the 24-song set list. It’s hard to imagine that anyone person, more or less an entire band, could contain the levels of pure, unadulterated vitality and fun as they leaped across the stage while pouring their hearts out with each song.
The Avett Brothers started the night off with “Satan Pulls The Strings” followed by “Talk of Indolence,” “Die Die Die,” “Shame,” “Skin and Bones,” “Pretty Girl from Cedar Lane” and “Traveling Song.” By far on of the most touching and honest moments of the night was when they performed “Rejects in the Attic,” a bittersweet ode to former love and the strife to reclaim parts of one’s self that no longer exist.
The Avett Brothers continued with “Live and Die,” “Go to Sleep,” “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” (The Carter Family Cover), “Salvation Song,” “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise,” “Find My Love,” “ I Would Be Sad,” “Let Myself Live,” “Salina,” “Tania,” “Tin Man,” “Paul Newman vs. The Demons,” “Laundry Room,” “I Killed Sally’s Lover,” “Slight Figure of Speech” and ended the night with “Open-Ended Life.”
For me this was the perfect accompaniment of honoring the roots of country with Emmylou Harris, while providing the taste of Americana fused Folk with The Avett Brothers. It was truly a pleasure to see both acts share the stage and provide two sets of meaningful music that touched everyone, as fans slowed danced with their partners to children being introduced to something other than contemporary top forty. It was a pleasure to dance and sing along with an overflowing Amphitheatre of fans.
Full Photo Gallery of The Avett Brothers
Full Photo Gallery of Emmylou Harris