jim avett @ local 506

jim avett @ local 506

jim avett @ local 506

Heidi, Jim Avett’s lovely publicist, told me to make sure that I introduced myself to Jim last night — and I would have anyway, to thank him for his interview, but because she’d said that, I made sure to find him during Reed Mahoney’s opening set. She’d warned me, though, that Jim was gregarious; that he’d talk my ear off. And of all the introductions to Jim Avett I expected, the one I did not expect was for him to take my right hand between both of his, before I’d even introduced myself, and start to tell me a story that began, “So we were in Tallahassee, visiting Susie’s mother …” and that finished with how he met Reed. It was the warmest, most genuinely charming introduction I’ve had to a musician in ages (besides the Cowboy, who counts differently) and we stood outside in the chilly March air while he told me about how he likes to record and produce, how he likes to start with two guitars and the song and build from there — how he likes to find artists who need help and put a financial or personal hand behind their back, because he can now.

Every word out of his mouth was genuine and fascinating, and a lot of them were funny as hell.

His set was just as genuinely honest and open as our conversation was; he played with Greensboro resident Molly McGinn — late of Amelia’s Mechanics — and a rhythm guitarist who looked terrifically familiar but whose name escapes me at the moment, and it was just a clever, funny, clean set of gorgeous folk and traditional and country tinged songs about love and life and boys and girls. “Every song is eventually just a song about a boy and a girl,” he said at one point. He did some songs from Tribes, and some new songs, and some old songs, and one about finding a box of old photos in the attic, which made me cry like a baby.

Jim is a very unassuming, self-deprecating — “We started practicing four days ago and we weren’t getting anywhere, so we just started drinking” — guy until he starts talking; he stood on stage and told stories, jokes, to a quiet but appreciative crowd that responded in all the right places. And he played his songs, which are just lovely. There’s no other word for them — he’s a great guitar player and a phenomenal songwriter, and the only mention you will see of his boys in this review is that I know where they get it. It’s clear as day, when you see Jim on stage, that they learned their stage presence and command of a crowd from watching their dad.

It was a sharply beautiful evening, quiet and intimate, and I feel lucky that I got to see Jim play, and that I got to talk with him as much as I did. A fascinating, generous, hilarious and talented man.

reed mahoney @ local 506

Reed Mahoney is a recent transplant to North Carolina; if you think John Prine filtered through Carl Hiassen’s Florida, you’ve got a pretty good sense of how he sounds. He was a great opener for Jim, and I’m excited that he’s living here now, working on an album and playing around. I can’t wait to see him again.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. KW says:

    I have been enjoying your stories about Jim…glad you got to meet him and hear all of his fun stories! There are for sure many more to come and when he sees you again, he will remember you like an old friend and make you feel like one of his own (as I am sure you would expect). The rhythm guitarist who typically plays with him is Ray (not sure of the last name), and I enjoy his contribution to Jim’s live shows, and with Molly singing harmony, well it all just works together very nicely!

    I look forward to reading more of your work 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for reading! Jim is just a joy of a human being, and Susan is as well; and his live set was so, so wonderful. A great night all around.

  2. Lori Horton says:

    Ray’s last name is Morton and he is from Stanley county. I too thought it was a great evening of music and stories. You are on the money when you mention the John Prine flavor to his sound. His originals were well written and had some nice guitar . Love hearing Molly harmonize with Jim and yes it is easy to hear where the boys find and produce such harmony in voice and life.

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