Scott Avett, Bob Crawford, and Seth Avett


“If you put your ear to the street, you can hear the rumble of the world in motion; people going to and from work, to school, to the grocery store. You may even hear the whisper of their living rooms, their conversation, their complaints, and if you’re lucky, their laughter. If you’re almost anywhere in America, you’ll hear something different, something special, something you recognize but haven’t heard in a long time. It is the sound of a real celebration It is not New Year’s, and it is not a political convention. It is neither a prime time game-show, nor a music video countdown, bloated with fame and sponsorship. What you are hearing is the love for a music. It is the unbridled outcry of support for a song that sings to the heart, that dances with the soul. The jubilation is in the theaters, the bars, the music clubs, the festivals. The love is for a band. The songs are honest: just chords with real voices singing real melodies. But, the heart and the energy with which they are sung, is really why people are talking, and why so many sing along. They are a reality in a world of entertainment built with smoke and mirrors, and when they play, the common man can break the mirrors and blow the smoke away, so that all that’s left behind is the unwavering beauty of the songs. That’s the commotion, that’s the celebration, and wherever The Avett Brothers are tonight, that’s what you’ll find.”

The Avett Brothers have got to be one of the most innovative and talented bands on the music scene today.  They’re raw talent, unbridled energy, and subtly affecting lyrics combine to create a musical force to be reckoned with.  As children of Carolina country, The Avett Brothers are recklessly brilliant and hopelessly wild.  Their bluegrass rock is taking the music world by storm, and I think most are inclined to just sit back and let it happen.  – EJR


Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor



“Regina Spektor  (born February 18, 1980) is a Soviet-born American singer-songwriter and pianist. Her music is associated with the anti-folk scene centered on New York City’s East Village.

Spektor has said that she has created a great number of songs, but that she rarely writes any of them down. She has also stated that she never aspired to write songs herself, but songs seem to just flow to her. Spektor’s songs are not usually autobiographical, but rather are based on scenarios and characters drawn from her imagination. Her songs show influences from folk, punk, rock, Jewish, Russian, hip hop, jazz, and classical music. Spektor has said that she works hard to ensure that each of her songs has its own musical style, rather than trying to develop a distinctive style for her music as a whole.

Spektor has a broad vocal range and uses the full extent of it. She also explores a variety of different and somewhat unorthodox vocal techniques, such as verses composed entirely of buzzing noises made with the lips and beatbox-style flourishes in the middle of ballads, and also makes use of such unusual musical techniques as using a drum stick to tap rhythms on the body of the piano or chair. Part of her style also results from the exaggeration of certain aspects of vocalization, most notably the glottal stop, which is prominent in the single “Fidelity.”  She also uses a strong New York accent on some words, which she has said is due to her love of New York and its culture.”

I am madly in love with Regina Spektor.  She is my all-time favorite artist.  I started listening to her in high school, and she never gets old.  Her piano and adorably unconventional stylings are enchanting.  I hear something new in her songs every time I listen, and her old albums are just as brilliant as the new ones.  I recommend her a million times over, but the most important thing to remember is that her radio hits are great, but the real lyrical treasures are buried.  – EJR



Sara Watkins, Chris Thile, Sean Watkins

Sara Watkins, Chris Thile, and Sean Watkins


“The three members of Nickel Creek — Chris Thile (born Feb. 20, 1981) and siblings Sean (born Feb. 18, 1977) and Sara Watkins (born June 8, 1981) — have been playing together for more than a decade after performing as children in a San Diego pizza parlor. They continued to play as a unit throughout the decade with Thile (pronounced Thee’-lee) also releasing two solo albums in his early teens.

As they formed Nickel Creek, the three musicians were already starting to win bushels full of championship trophies. Most notably, Sara took the Arizona State Fiddle Championship when she was 15. Sean, at 16, was a finalist on mandolin as well as guitar in the National Flatpicking Guitar Championship. As a teen, Thile was a finalist for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s mandolin player of the year honor numerous times. The band itself won the Southwest regional division of the Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Band Championship in 1994 and built an enthusiastic following through appearances at major festivals and on television, radio and the Internet.”

I love bluegrass music, and Nickel Creek is better every time I listen to it.  I was fortunate enough to see Nickel Creek play once or twice before their ‘Farewell for Now’ tour.  I am hoping, as all of us are,  that ‘Farewell for Now’ was a promise to return.  I mean, I love the three albums they’ve released previously, but there’s nothing like new music.  And speaking of new, I think it’s important to say something about all their side projects.  Sean Watkins is doing Fiction Family with Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman.  It’s a really cool acoustic folk pop album – a perfect combination of Watkins’ and Foreman’s styles. Chris Thile is ever impressive in his bluegrass band Punch Brothers.  Seeing them play is worth whatever it costs.  Punch Brothers fire up bluegrass until you’re begging for more.  And Sara Watkins recently released her mellowed-out, melodic folk album that’s almost all instumental and stunningly beautiful.  However, as well as all of their individual successes are going, I’d still like to see a reunion album and tour, and I bet I’m not the only one.  – EJR


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