Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Over the last week, some of the newer magazines that have been filling the mailbox at home have featured predictable pieces touting the upcoming release of the Rick Rubin-produced Avett Brothers album. All of the articles have the brothers answering questions about why they now make the kind of bluegrass-punk hybrid that they do instead of the harder rock and roll that they were trying to make their calling card years and years ago. Seth Avett was quoted as explaining it this way, in a paraphrase, "It just felt so natural to be playing banjos and acoustic guitars on our back porch," while drinking beer and having a cookout or something fire pit related, something that could take up the entire day, every day without any complaints. Nashville band The Deep Vibration has to have these same natural inclinations of beer, acoustic guitars, harmonious existence, love of the country and where they call home, and being outside for most of the day, storming its head constantly. The four members, led by the songwriting of singer Matt Campbell, must rely on such comfortable themes of home-cooked souls and pride in the roots for everything to feel alright. It's a salve, the rich air that always has that faint, buttered smell of wood fire and cigarette smoke and barrel booze, that massages the nerves and brings them to where they need to be. The group's debut EP, "Veracruz," is sympathetic to an ethos of not really needing to be anywhere but where you're from and not feeling any temptations to escape from a slower paced life, where days end with dessert of a freshly-baked rhubarb pie or bread pudding and a sing-a-long or a vigorous bull session with a lot of the same stories making their way back around to the floor and then crashing to bed late or not, having just made a full and sufficient day of it all. The Deep Vibration marks its music with lovely gray skies and the lingering of pretty faces, loved faces getting fanned gently by the breeze coming into the cab of the car or truck as it heads westernly, catching the hair just so, making it dance and toss. The faces involved take on the likeable warmth of friendly touches and reunions, of bumping into old flames that still do something to your heart and organs that you didn't expect. The band brings gorgeous melancholy into the picture, sounding its best when it takes on the wistful tones of a person lost and drifting among the mile markers and the towns that all have as much old familiarity as they do blankness and hollow charm. Campbell sings of a woman who leaves Tennessee to basically be someone else, an actress on the West Coast, in the song "Mississippi Women," and there's all of the healthy and fulfilling kinds of hurt coming through, the kinds that we like to drink up and lean back in our chairs listening to. It all sounds as it should: solemn and whole-hearted.
The Deep Vibration Official Site