Crawford’s young daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2011. After that the musician had a hard time getting in the mood for songwriting. It didn’t help matters much that the songs the Avett Brothers liked to write usually center on more trivial subjects, like youthful indiscretions and romantic love, Crawford said.
“When my daughter got sick, I didn’t want to even hear songs about love in the boy-girl kind of way. I could no longer identify with it,” he said. “Those songs were a staple of our material … tenderhearted songs about a boy and girl courting and falling in love. I was kind of past that.”
At the moment, Crawford’s daughter is doing a lot better. But, that doesn’t mean Crawford will go back to being the same person he was before for his daughter got sick. Part of his change in perspective simply has to do with getting older, he said. “I think as you get older it changes what’s important to you and the way you see the world.”
Seth and Scott Avett, who are actual brothers, released one self-titled E.P. in 2000 as “The Avett Brothers,” but the band did not begin in earnest until Crawford joined the duo a couple years later.
The trio released their first full-length album, “Country Was,” in 2002. Then came several more albums on the indie-label Ramseur Records, including their commercial breakthrough album “Emotionalism” in 2007.
The Avett Brothers began a fruitful collaboration with acclaimed producer Rick Rubin with the album “I and Love and You” in 2009.
Their next album, “True Sadness,” which is also produced by Rubin, is scheduled to drop June 24.
The band has been working on the album on and off since 2014. Ever since working with Rubin there has been more time in between records. This has nothing to do with a lack of material, according to Crawford. It has simply become hard to synchronize Rubin’s schedule with the band’s hectic touring schedule, he said.
Over the years, The Avett Brother’s live act has changed as well. In the beginning there was only Crawford and the two Avett brothers on stage, but now their touring band has expanded to seven musicians, Crawford said.
“We have kind of created a monster. We are responsible for their jobs, for the crews, the busses and the trucks … this machine,” Crawford said.
Not that Crawford means to complain. Touring is a part of The Avett Brother’s nature, he said.
“This is how we are … this is how we are built. We are a road animal,” he said. “I’m sure there are many bands who are not built that way — this is what works for us.”
The Avett Brothers played at the Embassy Theatre once before in 2013.
Arriving a day before the show, which happened to be Ash Wednesday, Crawford remembers walking over to the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception from the downtown Hilton they were staying at, he said.
Though raised Catholic, Crawford said it had been a few years since he had attended Mass at the time.
“I went in there and went to Ash Wednesday service and it was phenomenal,” he said. “It was so old school … it was a wonderful experience.”
WHAT: Folk rockers The Avett Brothers
WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd.
COST: $35-70. Buy tickets at http://ticketmaster.com or at the Embassy box office, which is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. When you buy in person, you can save some of the fees.