Y’all know I love The Avett Brothers something fierce. (See Friday Music Blogging here and here.) It’s rare that they wander into Grist’s purview, so I don’t usually get a chance to write about them. However!

Terra Nova Community FarmOn Monday, they planned to be passing through Portland and wanted to do a show, so they looked around for a worthwhile cause for which to play a benefit. They heard about Terra Nova Community Farm, a project whereby Terra Nova High School students grow and sell organic produce to local businesses. That sounds like something our own Tom Philpott would love! And it justifies me writing this post! The brothers thought Terra Nova sounded worthwhile, so they played a benefit for it, at Portland’s Crystal Ballroom, to a small crowd of 500. If this rapturous review in the Oregonian is any indication, it was a humdinger:

A month ago, after the Avett Brothers played Edgefield, I wrote this:

Seeing the Avett Brothers in 2010 has to be a little like what seeing Springsteen was like in the late 70s, early 80s. They’re that good.

As I revere Springsteen, I grappled with the audacity of that statement and have tried since then to walk back, at least in my head. After last night, forget about it. They’re that good.

I agree. If you haven’t seen these guys, you’re missing something special — it’s a meaningful experience in a way that’s tough to describe without sounding treacly. Just go see them, they’re at the peak of their powers right now. And start a community farm of your own. Maybe they’ll play for you!

Here’s a Avett song from a recent album of John Prine covers that I just can’t get enough of these days. “Spanish Pipedream” is about self-reliance and small-scale agriculture:


Here’s a video of the first song in their Portland set, Derroll Adams’ “Portland Town.”