An Appeal to The Avett Brothers

Jan 18, 2013 by

(Editor’s note – Stacy Stout is a longtime friend of Old 67.  When I heard the following story, I knew we needed to do our part to get it out to as many people as possible.  We ask you to do the same.  Please share this with everyone you know.  Send it in emails, on Facebook, Reddit, whatever you can do to pass this along and give it the exposure it deserves. Your efforts will be greatly appreciated.- Alan)

Scott, Seth and Bob,

Jellybeans just came shooting out of the motion sensitive snack dispenser I bought my oldest son for his birthday…….and I’m alone in my house……


This is how my letter to the Avett Brothers begins and I realize now how kooky I sound.  Imagine if any of them actually open up my letter and read it!  They’ll surely dismiss my request for fear of meeting a babbling, weirdo fan who believes in ghosts.  Still, I’m hopeful.  I’m hopeful that IF my letter magically lands in their hands and IF they can get past the flying jellybean comment, that they’ll focus on the reason I wrote and give my request thoughtful consideration.


Let me try to tell a quick story about my amazing son Mason- who deserves more than a quick story- and who lost his battle with a horrific brain cancer called Anaplastic Ganglioglioma.   It’s a very aggressive cancer that took my 9 year old away from all of those who knew and loved him.  His first craniotomy took place on September 6, 2009 and he left us exactly 2 years later on September 6, 2011.  Mason lived a full life, don’t you worry.  In his 9 years, he taught lessons of love, courage, life and forgiveness that most of us won’t fully understand should we live to be 90.  He could capture your heart in a minute!  He had a sing-song spirit, he was a breath of fresh air and he was the kind of person you just wanted to be around so you could absorb his energy.  Mason’s energy still surrounds us…


A month after Mason’s death, I went to see the Avett Brothers at Greensboro’s new outdoor amphitheater.  I was sooooo looking forward to seeing them!  I wanted to dance!  I wanted to shout!  I wanted to scream the lyrics of their songs until I lost my voice!  I looked forward to their concert with a light heart.  Then I heard about Bob’s daughter who had been recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.  I thought, “SHIT!  No!  Why??  This is so unfair!  Why the children?  Why??”  Message boards were exploding with questions about whether or not Bob would show up for the concert and I resigned myself to the fact that he wouldn’t be on stage that night.  I know all too well how hard it is to fake being happy or energetic.  But damn if Bob didn’t show up!  I’m pretty sure I came close to losing my voice from whooping and hollering so hard after he came out on stage.   I felt proud of him from a distance as I continued to lose my voice while screaming the lyrics to “Head Full of Doubt”- a song that took on a new meaning for me that night.



I had not seen the Avett Brothers again until the 2012 New Years Eve show at the Greensboro Coliseum.  I was feeling mostly recharged after a full year without Mason and I was definitely ready to experience all the Avetts have to give after picking up The Carpenter on vinyl just before Christmas.  They opened with “Head Full of Doubt” and I knew at that moment that I had to write them a letter.  I knew I needed to ask them if they would play at a fundraiser for Mason’s Nation-a foundation I’m starting with a friend.  Too ambitious?  Yeah, maybe.  But Mason reminds me daily to be courageous, and the day I wrote the letter, I was thinking so hard about what I would say when the jellybeans came flying out of that snack dispenser!  Mason would have been totally jealous of it- he loved candy and I knew he was giving me a sign.  I stood dumb-founded looking at the jellybeans spilled out all over the bedside table that Mason once shared with his brother.  I said out loud, “Okay, Mason, I’ll write the letter.” Then I put all of those jellybeans back into the dispenser.


I really, really hope my letter is read.  But what I really want is for Mason’s Nation to raise crazy amounts of money for families in need.  Our mission is to spread Mason’s message of love, forgiveness, courage and strength.   I hope somehow my letter conveys this to the Avett Brothers.  If not in the letter, then maybe here…..


My letter ends:
P.S.  No shit!  The jellybeans just came flying out again!  Okay, thank you for your time…


I’m pretty sure I got Mason’s approval, and if I never hear anything from the Avett Brothers I’m okay with that.  I know I’m doing everything I can to honor Mason’s sing-song spirit.  I know Mason’s Nation will continue to grow and teach and help just like Mason would want.


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  1. bob norton

    Very good. A touching remembrance by a loving mother! Let me know where to contribute to Mason Nation fund and good luck with the campaign.

  2. Tryna

    “In the fine print they tell me what’s wrong and what’s right”- I can only hope that they read it!

    “There was a dream and one day I could see it
    Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it”- sounds like jelly beans showering down in the room where a courageous boy once laid his head to help you realize it…

    Ready to volunteer at the drop of a hat in any way I can to support Mason’s Nation! Thank you for sharing your “headful of doubts”!

  3. Lisa

    Beautifully written, Stacy!

  4. Ron

    It is beautiful and my memories never run out of tears when it comes to Masom.

  5. Dolphus Ramseur

    Dear Stacy,

    I read your blog post today about the letter that you wrote us. I have not seen the letter, but I was moved deeply by your post.
    I would love to hear more about your foundation, and more about Mason.
    I can’t promise that we will be able to play a benefit concert. In fact, that may be difficult to make happen, but there are other ways we can help.

    May God Bless you and your family,

    Bob Crawford

  6. Me

    May I suggest you contact St Jude or their tour management?

  7. Jan Ankerson

    Stacy you are amazing. Please let me know how Doug and I can contribute to Mason’ Nation. Good luck with all your fundraising endeavors…look for rainbows!

  8. Amazing story. I read on Facebook that Bob Crawford reached out to you. Yet another reason to love The Avett Brothers.

    I thought you may appreciate this… It’s a quick clip I took of the Avett’s playing “Head Full Of Doubt, Road Full Of Promise,” from that 2009 White Oak Amphitheater show referenced in the letter. There are a few other short clips from the show if you’re needing a reason to smile.

    Please let us know how we can contribute to the Mason Nation via either donation and/or volunteering. God Bless.

  9. Tristan

    Great story Stacy i was a great friend of Mason. He was a kid that would be freinds with anybody. Keep your heart up because he will always be within us.

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