The Adam Ezra Group from left are Corinna Smith, Alex Martin, Adam Ezra and Poche Ponce. Michael Keegan photo

For this special online only column, I picked a similar theme and day of performance! Like my chat with Tinsley Ellis, who’s appearing at the NABF on this Sunday the 17th, Adam Ezra and I go ‘way back having conducted many interviews together over his long career which began with his band’s first album in 2009, so when I learned that he was coming up to Somerset Abbey in Madison on the same day, I just had to reconnect with another gifted musician. Unlike with Ellis, I hadn’t spoken with Ezra since Feb. 9th in 2016 (he and his band were going to be playing at Mainely Brews in Waterville on the 27th of that month) so our fourth or fifth chat really was a long-awaited conversation, especially seeing all that’s happened since last we spoke. When I reached him at his Boston-area home, I began with a predictable and obvious observation …

Q: It must be very gratifying, and probably a huge relief, for you to be out playing live again.
Ezra:
It is, it is, but during the pandemic we were super active.

Q: Oh, how so?
Ezra: We were not only gathering online all the time but we started doing these live gatherings in back yards, public spaces before the clubs were opened; so luckily it was not a total time of isolation and detachment from our amazing community of fans. But, I’ll tell you what, it is really, really nice to be back playing at theaters and the clubs and the festivals again. I feel lucky to be doing this and it’s awesome to see so many people coming to the shows, it’s awesome to be sharing live music again.

Q: And you’re going to sharing it with folks at a great venue up in Madison, Maine, the Somerset Abbey.
Ezra: Yes, we are.  So I think that this is our first time that we’re going to play at Somerset Abbey.

Q: Oh, you’re in for a treat.
Ezra: Really? Tell me about it.

Q: Well, folks that I’ve interviewed who have performed there before tell me that they can’t wait to get back there. I think that speaks volumes in itself, right there.
Ezra: Hmm, that’s awesome! And I don’t know if you know this but my wife and I bought a place in Maine, in St. George near Rockland, and we’re slowly transitioning to it being our main home. Oh, and I have a little daughter now, 9 months, and that’s since the last time you and I talked. It feels good to be doing some dates up in Maine, I’ve always loved it up there and so I’m pretty psyched to check out Somerset Abbey.

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Q: Do you have something new out or are you working on a new project?
Ezra: Well, we’re in the middle of a big studio project: we’re calling it “The Album Project” and we are, as may not surprise you at this point, Lucky, taking a relatively non-traditional approach to sharing our music. I have become inspired by kind of unfolding our music and our connection in real-time that as we finish each song, we release it. And so, right now, we’ve released nine songs from “The Album Project” all over the course of COVID, and we’re about to release our tenth song which is actually our first song that I did not write.

Q: That sure is a surprise!
Ezra: It’s a cover of The Band’s “Ophelia,” which is one of our favorite songs to play out live for a while now and it feels really good to be able to release a recorded version of that.

Q: Nice! Now where are these songs being released, is there a website I should pass on to the readers?
Ezra: They’re all on streaming platforms so, obviously, it always comes best for the group to let people know about all the latest things that we’re doing and the crazy adventures we’re on, the different places we’re performing in, and the tour dates; but also all of our new music is there and on all the best places to stream so people can find out about it.

Q: Oh, so like Spotify and like that?
Ezra: Spotify, that’s usually the easiest place for people to find all of our new music. Our last song that we released was a single called, “Let’s Get Outta This Town” which has been a fan favorite for a very long time, so it felt really good to release that. Before that was a tribute to my little daughter called “Lay Lay,” an acoustic song; and it’s been really fun to kind of unfold the latest stuff that we are doing creatively and not have to wait until an entire album is finished. That’s always been my biggest challenge: I’m impatient; I always want to share things as soon as I can, and these days you kind of can, you can kind of do that.

Q: Too true, for sure. Now, seeing you haven’t been to Somerset Abbey before, what can folks expect from your show there?
Ezra: One of the things that I love most about the way we perform, and one of the things that makes coming to a new place that much more of an adventure, is we never know what’s going to be in store at that show.

Q: That does sound exciting.
Ezra: When we walk onto a stage we never have a set list, we never have a plan, and we always let the moment dictate the musical path that we walk with our audience. And to me it always feels like our concerts are as much a conversation and an exchange rather than us having prepared something to present to the people who are coming. That’s what inspires me about sharing art, and doing it live is that every single moment that we are on this planet living and breathing, every moment is a unique moment and we hope that each one of our shows, in some way or another, captures the moment that we’re experiencing. So we should be in good spirits that night, for sure, and I’m looking forward to it.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Ezra: Umm, let’s see. I’d like to say that this is, in a lot of ways, our first summer really back on tour, and each show so far has just felt like a celebration of that; and, man, we’re so excited as the summer unfolds to continuing to celebrate wherever we’re touring in the country. It makes me super honored that our little grassroots, underground following has not only stuck with us over the course of these last years but is growing and becoming stronger. It’s an inspiring time for us to be making music, we’re really looking forward to it!

Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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