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First Watch: The Avett Brothers, 'Ain't No Man'

Airports are like petri dishes for humanity's worst traits. Most people are in various states of agitation over endless lines or invasive searches or some perceived slight. Everyone's exhausted. Everyone's on high alert.

So it seems like an almost hostile environment for the foot-stomping celebration of The Avett Brothers singalong "Ain't No Man." But, as singer Scott Avett told NPR Music in an email, the celebratory track — and the new video he directed for it — are "about a character who is dealing with fear and his journey to do what he was born to do."

As Scott Avett happily sings his way through the song, he observes other passengers — a mother corralling her kids, stony faced business executives, and people of various faiths (a priest, men in yamakas, several others wearing taqiyahs or hijabs) — before slogging through the ticket line and security for a lengthy pat-down. But when he finally emerges on the other side of the terminal, a large group of smiling fellow travelers joins him for the joyful chorus, almost in defiance of every awful thing one normally expects when it comes to flying.

Scott Avett eventually boards the plane and takes a seat next to his brother Seth, but not before giving a nod to NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson who appears in a cameo as the pilot.

"Ain't No Man" is the first single from The Avett Brothers' upcoming album, True Sadness, due out June 24 on American/Republic Records.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.