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Avett Brothers’ hurricane relief concert will help the place they once called home

Avett Brothers perform ‘No Hard Feelings’ at Cooper’s Inaugural Ball

The Avett Brothers headlined new N.C. Governor Roy Cooper's Inaugural Ball in Raleigh, N.C. Friday night, January 6, 2017.
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The Avett Brothers headlined new N.C. Governor Roy Cooper's Inaugural Ball in Raleigh, N.C. Friday night, January 6, 2017.

Hurricane Florence was a catastrophe for Eastern North Carolina, and recovery is going to take years.

The Avett Brothers are chipping in with a hurricane-relief show on Nov. 13 at East Carolina University’s Minges Coliseum in Greenville.

While the group is from Concord, Greenville is Scott Avett’s old stomping grounds from his time at ECU, where he earned an art degree while playing in bands.

Proceeds will go to organizations contributing to Hurricane Relief efforts, according to an event announcement.

The Avett Brothers had a busy 2017 with shows promoting their latest Grammy-nominated album, “True Sadness,” and continued promotion of their documentary, “May it Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers.”

We caught up with Scott Avett by phone — his brother, Seth, is the other Avett in the band — to reminisce, talk about the group’s new single and album and what to expect at their annual New Year’s Eve concert in North Carolina.

1. This is a homecoming for every act on the show.

Along with the headlining Avett Brothers, the bill features Baltimore synthpop band Future Islands and space-metal quintet Valient Thorr. Various members of all three bands were part of a local-music ecosystem including Lo Fi Conspiracy, Art Lord and the Self Portraits, The Kick Ass, Nemo and eventually Avett Brothers.

“You know the drill, 10-band bill starting in the afternoon and going all night,” said Avett. “We were not all in the same bands, but we were all moving the gear, setting up and playing a lot of shows together. Greenville is where we made all our early mistakes, big ones. We still make huge ones, but the mistakes then were messy.

“That’s where I first learned how to be onstage for people who were not forgiving, and it means a lot for us to come play there,” he said. “The three of us have gone our own way, but we all come from the exact same place. There’s a lot of effort and soul and history in it for us.”

2. Avett knows hurricanes.

“I was in Concord for Hugo at age 12, and it wrecked everything,” he said. “And I was at ECU when both Fran and Floyd hit. I remember those so well and I saw firsthand what they did. All those storms made me an advocate for helping people who have experienced that type of damage.”

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3. The Avett Brothers have a new song.

It’s called “Roses and Sacrifice,” and they debuted it recently on “Late Night With Seth Meyers.”

“It’s a message of solidarity and knowing yourself, how important it is,” Avett said. “There’s the statement at the end, ‘I know just exactly what I want and I know just what I need.’ That gets to what it’s all about. Regardless of whether or not it winds up on our next album, that’s a statement we feel like people need right now.”

4. When is the Avett Brothers’ next album?

“We’re aiming to release at least one more song before the year is out and continue that pace into 2019,” Avett said. “We’re in the process of mixing, so there might be a few last-minute additions and songs that grow, change, get added into the sets. It’s a shame, but songs get so much better the more they’re played, and they usually get recorded when they’re so young. But that’s how we work.”

5. The new album will be timely.

“It’s by no means a political record, but it’s more about blatant social and political issues than ever before,” Avett said. “One thing that’s always been consistent with us is, if we feel it needs to be said, write about it. That’s always been our way, to try to express ourselves in a way that’s interesting and that we believe in. It’s a tightrope, but the whole point of that is to stay balanced and on task.

“We’re not trying to avoid anything, just be sincere about what affects us,” he added. “The temptation is to start talking about things you don’t know anything about. I was at an art talk last week, trying to answer a question about spirituality, and halfway through I realized my answer should have been total silence. I’ve already said more than I should.”

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6. Father Time will most likely return for New Year’s Eve.

A highlight of the Avetts’ annual New Year’s Eve show is the appearance of Father Time, personified by Valient Thorr frontman Herbie “Valient Himself” Abernathy. Look for him with the Avetts Dec. 30-31 at Charlotte’s Bojangles Coliseum.

“I sure hope so,” Avett said. “Father Time operates on his own clock and the clock is his, you know. So we’ve sent out the invitation, let’s say. The leverage has kind of changed over time. Now Father Time comes and goes as he will. We hope to see him.”

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David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi

Details

What: Concert for Hurricane Florence Relief with Avett Brothers, Valient Thorr and Future Islands

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13

Where: Minges Coliseum, 1 Ficklen Drive, Greenville

Cost: $65-$75

Details: ecutickets.net or 252-737-4500

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