North Carolina native, multi-instrumentalist, and folk- and bluegrass-influenced pop/rock singer/songwriter Seth Avett (born Timothy Seth Avett) has found most of his musical success alongside his older brother, Scott Avett. The youngest of three children including middle child Bonnie, he and his brother began making music together as children. As a teen, Seth Avett formed the Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina-based Margo with Kenny Graham and Noah Warner before that band combined with his brother's Greenville-based rock band, Nemo. The resulting lineup had Scott Avett on vocals, Seth Avett and John Twomey on guitar, Kenny Graham on bass, and Noah Warner on drums.
In 2000, the brothers and Twomey recorded and released a self-titled acoustic side project under the name the Avett Brothers. Nemo split up soon after, and bassist Bob Crawford joined the new band in place of Twomey. Avett began releasing more intimate solo material with diverse instrumentation under the moniker Darling in 2001 with To Make a World Quiet and 2002's Killing the Headlamps. Back with the Avett Brothers, Country Was and Live at the Double Door Inn were released in 2002, and the band signed with Ramseur Records for 2003's A Carolina Jubilee. Over the next several years, the Avett Brothers continued a committed schedule of touring, writing, and releasing records, including 2004's Mignonette and the next year's Live, Vol. 2. Another Darling release, The Mourning, the Silver, the Bell, was also issued in 2005.
The Avett Brothers' Four Thieves Gone: The Robbinsville Sessions and The Gleam EP arrived in 2006, the same year Avett appeared on the self-titled album by Crawford's side project, New Jersey Transient. In 2007, with cellist Joe Kwon added to the lineup, the Avett Brothers released the full-length Emotionalism, which hit number 134 on the Billboard 200. They signed to Rick Rubin's American Recordings, a division of Sony BMG/Columbia the following summer, after which their final Ramseur release, The Gleam II, was issued. Their major-label debut, the textured I and Love and You, peaked at number 16 on the Billboard 200, and an international tour followed, some of which they taped for their 2010 album Live, Vol. 3. The year 2011 brought a first-time Grammy Awards performance, and in 2012, The Carpenter debuted at number four on the Billboard album chart and would receive a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album. Recorded with Rubin during the Carpenter sessions, Magpie and the Dandelion was released a year later and charted at number five.
In 2014, the Avett Brothers toured extensively and began recording another album with Rubin. Meanwhile, early in 2015, Avett partnered with folk-influenced indie rocker Jessica Lea Mayfield to release a collection of solemn Elliott Smith covers titled Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith. The album was accompanied by a tour during which the duo performed songs by Smith and their shared influences, including the Beatles and Bob Dylan, as well as their own material. Later the same year, the Avett Brothers issued Live, Vol. 4, and their ninth studio LP, True Sadness, followed in June 2016. Seth then reactivated the Darling moniker in the spring of 2017 for its first release in 12 years, titled simply IV.