New Avett Brothers: we have a date & one track!

It hasn’t been that long since The Avett Brothers have released an album (I And Love And You came out in 2009), but to the dedicated, loyal fans who can never have too much of the brothers it seems like an eternity (okay, okay…I am speaking from some very personal experience!). Originally, the word on the street that the new album, The Carpenter, was to come out in the winter of 2012. But, it has been delayed due to the fact the producer, Rick Rubin, changed labels and brought The Avetts with him.

Finally, we have a date and even get to hear a single off the release!! Woohoo!! Happy Tuesday…heck, Happy June, everyone! The big release date is 77 days away (that’s Sept 11 for those who don’t want to do the math). And here is the link to the new song, Live and Die,  that is currently on NPR. Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to buy tickets to another TAB show…it’s been almost 8 months since I have seen them live and that is just not acceptable!!

The Avetts were recently on Conan O’Brien, performing one of my favorites, Murder in the City. It is not the boot stomping, string-breaking song that they have become known for, but it is an absolutely beautful song with striking lyrics.

Listen to the new song, Live and Die.

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WIN tickets to Langhorne Slim!!

Langhorne Slim is coming back through Louisville on January 13, 2012 at Headliners Music Hall. The Features are opening.  If you would like a chance to win (2) tickets, then go to the Last Bit Of Sanity facebook page, like it, and post that you want to win the tickets. Make sure you say which show you are interested in, because I have a couple of contests going.  A winner for this one will be announced a January 7th.

The first time I heard Langhorne Slim was when I saw him play with The Avett Brothers at Radio City Music Hall.  As we were sitting in the historic building, waiting with anticipation, a buzz started about Langhorne (real name = Sean Scolnick) tweeting that he would be there, too.  They didn’t have an opener, instead, The Avetts had friends of theirs come out on stage all night long.  I was impressed enough to pick up a couple of his CDs when we got home! And then I was pleasantly surprised when his tour stopped in Louisville last year and he played before a packed house at the Zanzabar.  It was humorous, because hubby had just asked me if I would recognize Langhorne if I saw him. I said, ‘of course…and there he is!’.  We walked over to say hi and he stuck his hand out to hubby and said “hi, I’m Sean”.  Very down-to-earth and approachable, which was cool.

I remember reading somewhere that he said all of his songs are love songs and they are but not in the sappy, gross kinda way! One of my favorites is “Boots Boy”…”you can have my television, as long as i have lips for kissin you”.

I love how distinctive his voice is.  Even without seeing Langhorne’s face, you know this is him singing about the Ladybugs on Sesame Street!!!

And one last song, for Christmas…don’t forget, I said all of his songs are love songs! 😉

hot off the presses…do not miss this!!!

If you like the sounds and energy of Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers, then you do NOT want to miss one of the best new bands of this year when they are in town this spring. It has just been announced that The Head And The Heart will be playing at Headliners on March 6th. The Head And The Heart has been on my radar for a while and I fell in love the very first time I heard them on a youtube video. This is the band that I made my hubby travel down to Nashville to see when they OPENED for someone else last year! They are that good!!!

I am not the only one who thinks so, even though I knew about them before they were even signed to a major label! A lot of people are noticing. Dave Matthews noticed and had them open for him in Washington. My Morning Jacket noticed and had THATH open for them on their European leg of the tour as well as sing with them on a couple songs for their 2011 Christmas album! They are also on numerous ‘best of 2011’ lists…. #5 in Paste Magazine’s Best of 2011, The Best Music of 2011 in The Huffington Post, #21 in The Best Albums of 2011 on Amazon.com and #1 on Kentuckyseven.se’s list of the best (they are Swedish music bloggers, who happen to love Kentucky…how awesome is that?!).

Their performances are so powerful that they bring me to tears….even when it is just on TV!! The energy and enthusiasm that they bring to the stage is unparalleled. I could go on and on, but watch this and decide for yourself. I promise it will be a night you won’t forget. Don’t miss the opportunity to see one of the hottest upcoming bands in a small venue! Warning: You WILL see me singing and dancing my ass off, so prepare yourself!!

this makes me smile…

Ah, the joys of parenthood – you all know what I am taking about.  The joy of going out somewhere nice…with spit-up down your back. The joy of sitting down to enjoy the game…and having the baby scream the whole time. The joy of the anticipated weekend plans…that get cancelled because the little one is sick. The joy of a celebratory work dinner…hampered by knowing that you are missing your little guy’s big game. The joy of waiting in an hour long line at the DMV…wait, that is a joy because you are alone!! 😉

I can say all this because we know the good parts of parenthood–the hugs, the kisses, the ‘I wuv ew’.  But it is the ups and downs that bond all parents.  You can instantly start a conversation with any other parent…it is like trading war stories! Sometimes it is hard to think of sharing such an intimate thing with someone famous, but if we are all parents, then its all shared!  And that is what makes me love this video so much.  Crackerfarm has put out some of the best videos of The Avett Brothers, but this one is tops! I love that Scott is trying to play at hymn at his home, yet his daughter has drastically different ideas.  She may be the only girl I know who would forcibly try to stop Scott from performing! 😉  And I love the look on his face and the laughter in his voice…it’s like he is saying, ‘Really?! I can’t just sneak one song in?!” Yes, Scott…we have all been there before.  Fortunately, a camera wasn’t around.  Enjoy this sweet, funny video on this Monday morning!

a white blank page and a swelling rage

Nothing like a whirlwind, band following trip to force you to accept the fact that yes, we are getting older. Note, I didn’t say old…there is a HUGE difference between older and old.  Trust me.

It has been nearly a year since hubby and I had our epic music weekend.  It started a a Friday night with a) My Morning Jacket in Louisville for hubby and friends and b) The Avett Brothers at the Ryman in Nashville for my Dad & I and friends.  It was a hard decision, but I couldn’t miss my Avetts, even though they were playing two nights in a row, I couldn’t miss a song!!  On that Saturday, hubby and other friends drove down and we all saw The Avetts with Grace Potter (holy smokes…she is HOT!).  And Grace surprised us with a guest appearance by Kenny Chesney, who had traded in his cowboy hat and boots for a skull cap and tennis shoes! We knew The Avett Brothers would be amazing as the crowd belted out the lyrics to Bon Jovi’s Livin On A Prayer while we waiting for them to take the stage (which they did in full mummy costumes, since it was the night before Halloween).

Those shows would have been enough to satisfy most people, but not me.  I had been listening to Mumford & Sons for a while and knew as soon as I heard they would be in Nashville that I must be there to see this English folk band (I know…you usually don’t hear those words together!)  Unfortunately for us, they were playing the day after Halloween and we couldn’t stay there for an extended weekend after The Avett’s show, since the foursome would be counting on us to be home so they could fill their bags with a parent’s worst nightmare…sugary hell! But I was determined and hubby just nodded and said yes. So, we turned around the day after Halloween and made the trek back down to Nashville. And we never regretted it!!

Mumford & Sons put on an amazing show that had everyone dancing and singing along…I love the how much the crowd is singing along in the video below.  I am not sure how they were able to walk off the stage at the end…they had put everything into the show. It was pure energy! I think I could have watched the keys player play all night….man, he was good and so into it!  We were also treated to a surprise guest for the encore…Old Crow Medicine Show. I am not sure how many people were on stage for the encore, but it was packed!  I was looking for a video from that show and not surprising, I could only find one good one…everyone was too busy jumping around to video!

I am sure you are wondering why I am talking about a show that was 11 months ago….well, the memories of that night came flooding back when I saw that Mumford & Sons are going to be the on season opener of Austin City Limits tonight.  Don’t worry if you miss it, they usually replay it regularly (check your local listings here: PBS schedule).  As I watched the promo video my heart started pumping fast again, I started singing along and then I immediately checked their tour schedule (nothing close unless you are in CA…California and Canada).  These guys are good and I think I drove the whole 2.5 hours home from the show on a complete music high!!  This video proves that they don’t need a lot of fancy stuff to sound good.  Now, if I could just figure out how to get them to play in MY backyard….

my heart’s full of sorrow…

As parents, we do crazy things to protect our kids.  Think about it…putting big cushiony foam around anything  that might have a sharp corner…putting locks on everything from the toilet to the oven (those darn things can be tricky!!)…gating them in (or maybe out!!). That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but we all do it because we love our children so much and we just want them to be safe from harm.  And we see it as our job to keep them safe.  So, how do we survive when something threatens our ability to keep our babies safe and we have absolutely no control over the situation?

A few years ago, unfortunately, hubby and I had a front row seat to see how a family lives through and survives a parent’s worst nightmare: childhood cancer. Our dear friends were ‘lucky’ in that the leukemia that their 2-year-old was diagnosed with was well-known and therefore the treatment was straightforward. But, that didn’t mean it was easy. It was 2 years of chemo, 2 years of worrying that a cold or other illness could cause serious complications, 2 years of limited exposure to other kids, 2 years of an unbalanced life, 2 years of fear.  Again, they were ‘lucky’ and their daughter is now a happy, normal kid who has a smile that lights up a room!

My heart broke this morning when a member of my favorite group announced that his 22 month old daughter had cancer.  And, unfortunately, they aren’t ‘lucky’ because only 100 children in the US are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year, meaning that they probably don’t know much about it.  The group is The Avett Brothers and the member is Bob Crawford.  There had been some chatter on their fan boards recently because Bob had missed a few shows, but the official announcement came from Bob in the form of a letter to the fans on http://www.avettbrothers.com :

One month ago today my wife found our 22 month old daughter, Hallie, in her crib having a seizure. Paramedics rushed her to the hospital where an MRI revealed a brain tumor approximately one quarter of the size of her brain.

Surgeons were able to remove 90% of the tumor and decided to stop there as her vital signs were unsteady. Following surgery she suffered a stroke. Her condition was critical for the next several days as her brain continued to swell. In an attempt to save her remaining good brain she was placed in a coma for five days.

Since being removed from the coma, Hallie has undergone a second brain surgery, has been waking up, and is doing her best to recover quickly so she get ready for the next phase of her fight against cancer.

The tumor is a Grade 3 Ependymoma. This is a very rare, but deadly brain tumor that effects roughly 100 children a year in the United States. We do not know what Hallie’s next step is in her treatment. Her situation is very fluid and there are a number of complicating factors, but we do know that she is fighting hard every day.

My wife Melanie and I would like to thank everyone for their love, care, and support during the most difficult time in our lives. I would like to thank everyone for their understanding of the gravity of this situation and ask for respect to our privacy. When people ask us what they can do to help, we ask them to pray for Hallie’s recovery. We feel that God has already worked
miracles through Hallie and we pray they keep coming.
Someday I will return to the stage with my brothers. When that will be I can not say. We are truly living one day at a time.

Thank you again for your love and support for my family during this time.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Bob Crawford

It is hard to find the words to describe how it feels to read that.  It makes me realize that we are pretty lucky with the health of our kids. And where previously, I had been a little worked up about a scheduled in-patient clean-out and colonoscopy for my 3-year-old (because of blood in his stools), I now understand how truly minor that is compared with what Bob and his little Hallie are going through.  My thoughts and prayers will be the entire Crawford & Avett families along with their friends.  It must be such a trying time for all of them.

Another great group of brothers, The Barr Brothers, sing it better than I could say it:

Lord, I just can’t keep from crying sometime

When my heart’s full of sorrow & my eye’s filled with tear,

I just can’t keep from crying sometime

And if you like what you hear from the brothers from Rhode Island, check out another song, Beggar In The Morning,  from their newly-released, self titled album.

when bad things happen….

How do you explain the unimaginable…to a child? There are things in this world that are very hard to make sense of for an adult, but when you add a curious child into the equation things just got complicated.  We spend so much time trying to shelter our young children from anything and everything that could be upsetting to them. It is hard to know when it is okay to introduce the idea that life isn’t always going to be perfect.  There are things that happen every day that can’t be explained.  Like when a 2 year old gets diagnosed with leukemia, like when a young pawpaw is taken before he can see his namesake grow up, like when an alcoholic decides to make himself at home–in our house!

And of course, those devastating events on Sept. 11, 2001.  It is hard to believe that it has already been 10 years since that terrorist attack.  But at the same time, it feels like yesterday that I was working at Bellarmine University, in my friend’s office when our work study came in and told us what was going on.  Time is funny like that….it felt like I was waiting for years to hear that my uncle was uncharacteristically late to work that morning causing him to be outside of the World Trade Center towers when the planes it.  In reality, we waited a few hours to hear about his glorious tardiness.

My oldest is almost 9yrs and always very curious (hmm…sounds like a Curious George book, doesn’t it??).  C is also a very thoughtful young man…he really takes things in and processes them.  We have had many late night talks because he can’t fall asleep since something is weighing on his mind.  I knew discussing 9/11 with him would be difficult. While I was thinking about it, “Salvation Song” by The Avett Brothers came on. Damn…their lyrics are just incredible.  I am pretty sure they have a song that would fit everything situation in life. Anyway….this song just struck me as the answer in helping my son process the bad things in life. Especially the chorus:

We came for salvation

We came for family

We came for all that’s good that’s how we’ll walk away

We came to break the bad

We came to cheer the sad

We came to leave behind the world a better way

We cannot change what other people’s choices, how they act or what they do.  We cannot control the health of our friends and family in certain circumstances. We can only take charge of what we do and how we act. It is our responsibility to take positive actions.  On this desperately sad and overwhelming anniversary weekend, I hope we can all keep in mind that there are things we can do in everyday life to ease someone else’s pain or just brighten their day.  And if we all did that, maybe we really could break the bad, cheer the sad and leave behind the world in a better way.

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