| Sep 18, 2008

Sept 18/08 - Hoedown in Downtown Sydenham

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Feature Article - September 18, 2008 Hoedown in Downtown SydenhamBy Julie Druker

That’s what Brian Abrams called it. And that’s exactly what it was. In Sydenham on Saturday afternoon 200+ fans of The Abrams Brothers lined up their camping chairs on William Street in front of Trousdale’s General Store and comfortably enjoyed the internationally acclaimed and one of the area’s most famous and well loved families of blue grass and gospel music players.

Street traffic was partially closed off and though it was said that certain businesses balked at that fact, the majority of the music goers seemed unmiffed and grateful for a chance to enjoy quality live music in the great outdoors.

This was the group’s second annual free concert in Sydenham and as lead singer and eldest brother John pointed out, “Part of our history is here in Sydenham. Our grandparents Wayne and Mary live here in Sydenham. We spent most of our summers here swimming and hanging out.”

Saturday’s audience lucked out in two ways: the rain held off, the sun came out and James Abrams’ broken nose was healed up enough to allow the show to go on (apparently their last two performances had to be cancelled due to his nose injury).

The five member group included Dad Brian Abrams on rhythm guitar; elder brother John, 18 (who just recently graduated from La Salle High School in Kingston) on lead guitar and vocals; younger brother James, 15 on fiddle and vocals; cousin Elijah, 18, on stand-up bass; plus the band’s newest member Nick from New York (whose last name escaped me) on Banjo.

The group played a number of tunes from their newly released third album “Brown on Blue”, a tribute to folk legends Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie. Recorded and produced by Chris Brown and John Abrams in New York, it is the third album the group has put out to date and its receiving a very enthusiastic reception.

The group included many old favourites in their Saturday show’s line up: Big Mon, Two Little Fishes and Five Loads of Bread, and “Romeo”, a brand new song written and performed by John, which originated from a school project and is based on a poem by John Dunne called “The Paradox of Love and Death”.

The group as usual sounded tight, with strong lead vocals, flawless instrumental solos and beautifully blended harmonies, often sung around one free standing microphone.

The band has come along way from their beginnings and they have proved that they are serious musicians that are here to stay. This past year the band has toured extensively across Canada, the U.S. and Israel where road manager Paul Babcock admits, “the group has a huge following”.

Back in 2005, the Abrams Brothers were the youngest Canadians to grace the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Their upcoming extensive touring schedule will take them next to Quebec for a night and then off to Nashville, Tennessee for a series of gigs there.

On the road, the band’s home consists of a large tour bus where there are 12 bunks,14 TVs, a kitchen, and a central lounge space where the group can sit around, relax and play.

The group’s success has always been closely tied to the roots music that has been around for four generations in their family.

During a break in the music on Saturday, lead singer John paid tribute to this important inspiration. “Thanks go to our family, our parents and grandparents who really got us into playing bluegrass and gospel music. It’s such a great tradition and we got into it at such a young age.”

This Sunday Sept. 21 the Abrams Brothers will be performing in Snow Road at the John Thompson Hall from 2 to 5 p.m.

For more info about The Abrams Brothers, their recordings, upcoming concerts and contact information, go to www.theabramsbrothers.com.

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