On Friday night a group of us went to see THE ABRAMS BROTHERS at CENTREPOiNTE here in Ottawa, and I just really can’t stop raving about these guys. To be honest, I knew very little about this much-loved Canadian trio leading up to the show (proof I don’t get out enough!), but there was no doubt they grabbed and held my attention for the entirety of their show.
Many of you might be familiar with THE ABRAMS BROTHERS and that makes perfect sense having learned they’ve been in the business for something like 11 years. Consisting of brothers JOHN and JAMES as well as shaggy-haired cousin ELi, these boys have been recognized for musicianship BEYOND their years – delivering bluegrass, country and folk-rock with hints of pop sensibility. I fell in love with it all; I mean there was no doubting the talent up on that stage – and of course they are all easy on the eyes and perform with such professionalism and energy. And the harmonies - MY LORD – I live for music like that and found myself immediately hooked. I wanted in!
I grew up on bluegrass, country, folk, pop and rock – but unlike THE ABRAMS BROTHERS, did not come from a musical family per se (not counting my dad and Uncle) and we certainly did not play together as a family unit. In between songs, JOHN (gorgeous and well-spoken to boot) talked about the significance of music in their family history, and I found myself touched by that because you only have to see them perform once to understand how close they are – and how lucky they are to share in this bond. I wanted them to adopt me !!! Begging me to question – Boys – can you use another member in your family act? Perhaps, pseudo-cousin CC? I’m very malleable and I’m sure I can find harmony with you! (P.S. I’m the one who took your set list, as pictured above…I’m bad, I know – but I needed some sort of memento. Plus… I was sitting right in the front row, who could resist snagging a keep sake?)
THE ABRAMS BROTHERS are fourth-generation musicians with musical roots reaching back to their great-grandparents. And despite their age, veteran is certainly not a word out of reach given their credits. They’ve been touring together for almost a decade – and in the past few years, have become Canadian festival favorites. In 2005, the Ontario-based group became the youngest Canadians to appear on NASHViLLE‘s iconic GRAND OLE OPRY. They’ve toured Europe, and several times have performed for the Jacob’s Ladder Folk Festival in Israel. In 2006, the band received the DANiEL PEARL MEMORiAL violin, given to especially gifted young musicians. These are just but a few accomplishments I discovered after checking out more on this trio.
Last year the band released Blue On Brown, an album of songs by ARLO GUTHRiE and BOB DYLAN. The record was a tribute to songwriters they had always admired – and although their show on Friday had several highlights, these covers were exceptional and had me closing my eyes, tapping my feet and forgetting all my troubles – which is just what the doctor had ordered. I was seriously, and pleasantly surprised to find myself thinking “Heck, this is one of the first times in a while that I’ve enjoyed a show from start to finish”. Even ARLO GUTHRiE, the legend himself, recognized the talent of this trio after he first heard them playing his own songs at one of his shows and thought they were “way too young to be playing that good. I know I will be hearing from The Abrams Brothers for a long time to come.”
Thank you boys for a great night of music – I hope to catch you again sometime in the future! Props as well to the opening act, DARRELLE LONDON, a sweet and lovely thing who played an intimate set on piano and ukulele – setting the right tone for the rest of the night. She looked like a vision of a very young DOLLY PARTON in some ways, dressed in an adorable little red stage dress and blonde hair, singing sweet songs inspired by her own life as a young girl with a lot of dreams. I really enjoyed her as well.
For more on these guys check out www.theabramsbrothers.com and this selected video below – which was a highlight moment of their Friday night show for me.