Monday, June 26, 2017
Saturday, June 24, 2017
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
The Adam Ezra Group Headlines at the Sellersville Theater
By Rob Nagy
Drawing from the tradition of American folk music, The Adam Ezra Group embraces their artistry, nurturing a community of fans through heartfelt words and music. Exemplifying this mission, the bands latest album release “Hurricane Wind” is a hands-on, groundbreaking collaborative effort with their fans.
“I am so excited about this project,” says Ezra, from his home in Boston. “We wanted to do a fan selected album and so what we did was we shared with our fan community 23 rough demo songs. Then we took them into the studio with us, virtually, and shared with them as we constructed 23 studio tracks. They chose the final 11 tracks to be on the album, making suggestions, writing ideas, arrangements - they really got involved. They helped us name the album. They helped us pick the artwork. It’s really a fan co-produced album.”
“I struggled to figure out a good name for the album and I asked fans to write in with suggestions,” adds Ezra. “Nothing sounded quite right to me. We have a song called “I Believe” and in that song we talk about how you gotta come on like a hurricane wind. It’s a song about the power that each of us has as individuals to shape the world we’re living in and the fact that we are all connected together. As soon as I mentioned “Hurricane Wind” to our fans they loved it!”
Prominently featured on the album is John Oates (Hall & Oates), whom Ezra befriended and collaborated with during the songwriting process for “Hurricane Wind.”
“My manager, Brian Doyle, who used to work with Daryl Hall and John Oates, thought that John and I would work well together, says Ezra. He said ‘you guys are cut from the same cloth. One of these days I am going to get you guys together.’ Brian sent John some of my demos, he liked them and I went down to Nashville. That’s how we got started.”
“We sat down in the studio unplugged, two guitars, and we sang and recorded it live,” adds Ezra. “We were so happy that three of the songs ended up on the album. Two of the three we recorded as a band and John and I recorded the third “All I Am.” It’s fun and inspiring to have John on the album.”
Released on May 21st, “Hurricane Wind” was offered as a free two-week download to fans on the band’s website.
Zigzagging their way across the U.S. routinely performing a backbreaking schedule of concerts, Ezra finds personal gratification beyond the weight of life as a touring artist.
“The majority of what we do is this team of incredible musicians,” says Ezra. “I started off one fan at a time, one bar room at a time and now it’s one concert at a time. We travel around and we play many, many shows all over the country, 150 to 200 shows a year. Being an independent grass roots artist, it’s a hard life. It’s 80,000 miles in a van, pulling a trailer with my team. It’s a lifestyle filled with constant exhaustion and inspiration.”
“We are not only doing a lot of the heavy lifting ourselves,” adds Ezra. “We are also connecting on a personal level with fans as we go. That would be harder to do if we were playing bigger venues, if we were in a bigger place career-wise as a band. With that said, I couldn’t be happier. We seem to be growing and seem to be spreading the word all the time. It’s really this community of listeners that makes it incredible and it’s incredible to watch it happen. I couldn’t ask for anything else at this point.”
On a quest to share his music with as many fans as possible, Ezra again takes a groundbreaking approach to putting his music in the hands of anyone that will listen.
“We have a different mentality about selling music than a lot of other artists,” says Ezra. “When we have shows we have a thing called the “I Love You Box.” We have a table of CDs and we tell our fans, ‘If you like the music you’ve been listening to, please help yourself to some. If you have $10, $5 whatever, it’s fine. Grab a CD. If you are down to your last $1 keep it to yourself and help yourself to a CD anyway. We believe that music is meant to be listened to. God knows we’ve all been in a place where we’ve been down on our luck and couldn’t afford everything we wanted. I never want somebody’s ability to buy an album and to have money come between him or her owning the music that we make. The heart of the message to me is to always remember the place I am in and not get caught up in the things we have yet to achieve. I want people to get connected through the music.”
The Adam Ezra Group, with special guest Ryan Tennis, performs at the Sellersville Theater; located at 24 West Temple Ave., Sellersville, PA, Thursday June 29, 2017 at 8:00 P.M. Tickets can be purchased by calling 215-257-5808 or on-line at www.st94.com.
To stay up to date with the Adam Ezra Group visit www.adamezragroup.com
The End of America
Returns to Steel City
By Rob Nagy
Critically acclaimed Indie folk rockers “The End of America” is one of the latest bands to emerge from the burgeoning creative renaissance that is putting the thriving Philly music scene back on the map. More than a decade since their inception, the trio, featuring Brendon Thomas, James Thomas and Trevor Leonard continue the climb toward what appears to be a promising career.
Inspired by the classic songwriting and vocal harmonies that defined the ‘70s, the bands three- part harmonies serve as the foundation for The End of America’s distinctive songwriting and live performance.
“It’s pretty hard to argue that the ‘70s wasn’t the greatest rock sound,” says Thomas, from his home in Philadelphia. “It’s amazing there was so much happening in that time. We all read the Neil Young biography “Shaky” around the time the band was starting and fell in love with his attitude and creative approach; just get in there and make music; don’t over think it. It doesn’t have to be over produced.”
“We all grew up with classic rock and singer songwriters - Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Beatles, Pink Floyd,” reflects Thomas. “As we continue touring and progressing as artists, we look back to the music we grew up listening to that our parents introduced us to. With this project, The End of America, we especially have pursued getting back into that sound and reinventing it, that ‘70s rock sound.”
As a follow-up to their debut full length self-titled album in 2016, The End of America is getting geared up to release their follow-up, an EP due for a fall 2017 release.
“We released our first full-length record last September, which is the one we’ve been promoting,” says Thomas. “We had two releases prior to this that put us on the map so to speak. It’s our biggest statement yet as a band. The response has been really great so far. We are definitely building on this, turning a few more heads, getting a few more show offers, doing more festivals.”
“We’re recording some new songs now hoping that we can release a new EP by September or October,” adds Thomas. “We always try to make time when we’re on the road to write and record. We’ll take the slower days on a tour to do this. It’s good to get out of your day to day zone to freshen things up.”
Meeting in 2005 while on tour with their respective bands, the trio immediately found creative magic after experimenting with three part vocal harmony.
“Our thing is the harmonies,” says Thomas. “That’s kind of what we felt was the spark. When we started singing together it was just so effortless and very organic. We want people to be able to be moved by this, hopefully, and to appreciate what we’re saying in terms of what we’re relating from to our music.”
“We started singing harmonies on each other’s songs when we used to tour together in separate projects. We were all lead singers of other bands and met on the road,” adds Thomas. “By the end of a tour you know the other band’s songs so we would just hop up there and sing harmonies and thought it would be fun to pursue this Crosby, Stills & Nash three part harmony project for fun. It especially took precedent when the other projects fell to the wayside.”
Performing at SXSW, Savannah Stopover, Baltimore Folk Fest and the 2016 Philly Folk Fest, where they were named Best New Act of the fest, The End of America continues to navigate the landscape of a working band.
“It’s a slow train,” says Thomas. “We’ve been doing this whole thing ourselves. We don’t have management. We don’t have help in the way of booking. We pretty much run the show ourselves and try to stay on top of everything. It’s starting to get to the point where we need to build our team and take on management and get help from other people who can help guide this ship as it continues to gain speed.”
“It’s hard to juggle the creative aspect and stay on top of everything,” adds Thomas. “The social media aspect is a lot, trying to keep everybody engaged on a day to day basis, trying to keep that creative body and also have personal lives and side jobs we still need in order to make this all work. It can be problematic sometimes. Luckily, we have the power of three so we all try to delegate portions of where our workload is as a band and try not to make it overwhelming.
“We appreciate the rate of growth that we’re at,” says Thomas. “We’re building a fan base that is hopefully going to stick with us. It’s going at a pace that’s very grass roots and we’re really able to connect with everyone we meet along the way both on the side of fans and the music industry.”
Determined to expand their creative presence beyond the northeast, the trio remains committed to the band and their fans.
“We want people to feel good and to be moved by our music, says Thomas. “At the core, it’s James, Trevor and myself. They’re my best friends; they’re my brothers. We’re lifers. We’re in it together now, it’s just like a family.”
The End of America with special guest Ethan Pierce performs at Steel City Coffee house, 203 Bridge Street Phoenixville, PA 19460, Friday June 30, 2017 at 8:00 P.M. For tickets call 484-924-8425 or visit www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com
To stay up to date with The End of America visit www.theendofamerica.com