I saw the Avett Brothers yesterday at Red Rocks. Of all the concerts I’ve been to, I smiled the most at this one. It was a beautiful experience. They have such a joy and intensity about them. It wasn’t all grins though. There were a handful of tender, beautiful moments, and a few really powerful ones (the best tender moment for me was hearing their song Offering for the first time, and the most powerful was an encore performance of I and Love and You, with the whole audience singing). The thing that lends the gravity to their best songs is often simplicity. They shoot straight. I hide so much in metaphor and imagery in my writing. I describe emotions, shades of feeling. They describe life. And they do it with a lot of power when they say it simply. Interestingly, that amazing day ended with a deep melancholy for me. I found myself feeling a deep sadness for opportunities squandered and friends lost. I thought back on old memories with a rare sense of regret. It floored me, really. I was so caught up in my head that I imagine I was rather unpleasant to be around. I think I know why: I saw myself in their music. Their tales of unrequited love, of grand errors, of the strength of the familial bond, of the cancer of self-doubt, all ring true in my soul. They are singing about me. I think that’s something really powerful, and something I hope I can do from time to time. It’s simple: if you really have something to say, something that most everyone can understand and learn from, don’t beat around the bush. Say exactly what you mean. Shoot straight.