We’ve all got an Avett Story: An interview with Randy Talley

If you’ve bought an Avett concert ticket or album, then you’ve helped write the story of the Avett Brothers. The plan is once a week to interview a fan to get their Avett story. This week’s interview is with Randy Talley

Where are you from and where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I have spent my entire life here with the exception of my time in Abilene Texas while I was in the Air Force.

What is your earliest music memory?

My mother had a huge record collection, and I spent hours as a kid listening to her albums. My favorite artists back then included: Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Bobby Gentry, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Goldsboro and Dolly Parton.

What was the first musician/band that you loved?

Even though I was influenced early by Johnny Cash, and Glenn Campbell, my first music obsession was John Denver. I was also a huge Jim Croce fan. Both of them left the earth way to young.

What was the first record you bought?

My Dad bought me a 45 of Rod Stewart (Maggie May) when I was pretty young, and I bought several 45’s after that. My first album was Jethro Tull’s Benefit.

What was your first concert?

My first concert was Jethro Tull in 1973. It was a few years before saw another show. In 1976 I saw Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter and Tompal Glazer (The Outlaws), which started my interest in what they called “Outlaw Country” Back in those days.

How did you first discover the Avett Brothers?

Well I saw them when they performs on the Grammys with Bob Dylan and Mumford and Sons, and then I saw they were coming to Albuquerque in 2013, I did not know much about them, but a few friends kept telling me they were amazing live so at a whim, I bought a ticket and attended the show alone.

When was your first Avett Concert and what did you think afterwards?

My first Avett Concert was at the Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque, NM. Like I mentioned in the last question, I attended the show after being encouraged by a few friends. I was hooked after the first song, and was amazed by how much energy they had, and the varying type of music they played at that show. All the songs were new to me, so I really did not fully understand how amazing the set was until I looked back at the set list later.

How many Avett shows have you been to?

I have been to 19 shows since 2013, and my 20th show will be back here in Albuquerque at the Kiva Auditorium where my love for this band started.

What is the farthest you have traveled to go to an Avett Show?

I traveled to North Carolina for the New year’s show in 2015. I mostly travel for most shows, as they do not make it to New Mexico that often. My next farthest distance I have driven to a show was to see them in Austin, Texas a few times.

Is there any Avett experience you are hoping to cross of your Avett bucket list?

I have met Scott, Joe, Bob, Tania, Paul and Mike in the past few years, but still have not talked to or met Seth. That is something I’m hoping to cross off my bucket list, but I would really love to get one of those group pictures with the entire band someday. I know that is a big wish, but you have to dream right?

How has the Avett experience changed over time for you?

I went to my first show alone, but even though I may go to shows by myself, I meet the most amazing people at all the shows, and my number of friends have increased by hundreds. The other thing that I have noticed is that Avett fans are the most generous and caring folks that I have ever met.

Did you ever think you would see a band this many times and travel so much to see them?

No I never imagined that you want to see a band so many times, but with The Avett Brothers, I don’t see any end in sight. Every show is different, the sets are never the same, and they truly put out 100% for every show no matter how many people are there. I can see a huge comparison to The Grateful Dead and the Dead Heads. We have the same type of loyal fans that follow them around the country.

What are a few of your favorite Avett songs to hear live?

Wow, that is tough, I would say all of them, but I guess my favorites would include Sanguine, November Blue, The Offering and It’s the Beaches

What are some of your favorite Avett Lyrics?

Wow, tough question. I never realized how amazing the lyrics were to “The Offering” were until I heard it live at Red Rocks. “And I’ve known others And I’ve loved others too, But I loved them cause they were stepping stones

On a staircase to you” Such a beautiful love song. Other lyrics that hit home with me include: The Greatest Sum. I’m still chasing that one. “No count of gold placed in my hand

The largest find, the greatest sum

Though some would say it’d ease our pain

We know that it can’t be done

Not even the sun

Not even the clouds

Not even the past

No nothing that this world could bring

Or anything someone could do

Could hold me back from you”

Avett Brothers lyrics from so many songs have literally become the soundtrack to my live. They are such amazing song writers, and seem to relay so many life experiences, and true feelings in the songs they write. This is one the many reasons I was attracted to them.

If got to add 5 songs to the set list what would they be?

The Offering, The Greatest Sum, Sanguine, In the Curve and That Wasn’t Me (Brandi Carlile cover) I’m not sure that Seth will ever do that one live, but I would love to see it.

Do you have a favorite Avett concert moment?

I would say taking my daughter Maura to her first show at the Santa Fe Opera House. I sat there and watched her fall in love with a band. Since then she has been my concert buddy. It is so amazing to attend shows with someone that is as passionate as I am about a band.

What is your favorite venue that you have seen them at?

I would say Red Rocks, but the Santa Fe Opera House comes in a close 2nd.

What city have you had the most fun visiting while seeing the Avett Brothers?

Denver, Colorado

Do you have a favorite poster of piece of memorabilia?

My favorite poster? Wow I have so many posters, and no walls to hang them on. My favorite artist is Miles Tsang, I have several of his prints and love them all. It kills me to not have wall space. My favorite piece of memorabilia would be a setlist that Joe threw my way at the Santa Fe Opera House show.

Did you see May it Last? What did you think?

Yes, I was fortunate to see May it Last in Austin for the premier, and then I saw it in Santa Fe, NM on September 12. I was totally blown away by this movie. It was such an honor to be in the same movie theatre with the band watching this movie. The whole experience of that first time felt like a concert. The audience was singing along, clapping etc…. To see a movie like this with a full house of mostly Avett fans was amazing.

What 5 artists would you recommend Avett fans listen to?

The Devil Makes Three, The Wood Brothers, The Head and the Heart, Langhorn Slim, and Jackson Browne.

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