HomeInterviewsAsbury Jams Interview Series: The Adam Ezra Group

Asbury Jams Interview Series: The Adam Ezra Group

Adam Ezra Group
Photo Credit: Michael Keegan

In every interview I’ve conducted since 2020, I ask about the pandemic impacted the musician I’m talking with. Normally, the response I receive is centered around changes to recording,  touring or songwriting.

Yet, with Adam Ezra (lead singer and guitarist for the Adam Ezra Group), the answer was much more personal and much more spiritual. Ezra began a livestreaming series called “The Gathering.” During the shows he would livestream songs from his catalog, new songs, ideas he had, covers, etc. Tons of artists livestreamed during COVID, but The Gathering was different as it followed him through his life — the best of times (his wedding) and the worst of times (having COVID, losing his father). The series continues to this day and hundreds of people tune in online to watch and now they can gather with Ezra with live “Gathering” shows as well. For Ezra, the stream has fostered a tremendous community of people supporting him, each other and those in need.

This Thursday the Adam Ezra Group performs at Asbury Jams at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, New Jersey along with Mojohand. We caught up with Ezra to talk about The Gathering, his annual festival The Ramble, new music and his charity, Rally On.

The Adam Ezra Group is (Band Members & Instruments They Play): Adam Ezra (guitar, vocals), Corinna Smith (fiddle), Poche Ponce (bass), Alex Martin (drums).

Year We Formed In:  Believe it or not, I’ve been playing for about 20 years now. For most of that time we were a bar band around Boston, playing five hours a night and fighting to get the opportunity to be on tour around the country.

Bands That Inspired Our Sound: The Band, The Boss, Paul Simon, CSN.

Famous/Awesome Bands We’ve Shared the Stage With:

Steve Miller Band, ZZ Top, Goo Goo Dolls, Train, Melissa Ethridge, Blues Traveler, but honestly, our favorite band to open for has been [Southside Johnny and the Asbury] The Jukes. Before COVID Johnny took us all over the country with him.

The Gathering Series has been a live streaming event you’ve been doing since the pandemic started and now have over 600 episodes. Can you talk about how this series has impacted you as both an artist and as a person?

Have you ever been through something incredibly inspiring or incredibly traumatic with someone, and afterward you share a different/deeper kind of bond together? I think for me, The Gathering Series will always be tied to my COVID experience, and they were very much both of those things. I had the honor of living through it all with this huge, beautiful community of listeners who surround our music these days. They’ve been with me every day. They’ve seen the best of me and the worst of me. We’ve suffered and survived together.  This is who I get to play and write for, and as this community grows I believe the art is getting better and better.

You’re also doing Gathering shows on the road — how are these different from your regular shows you do on the road?

These days we gather twice a week. On Tuesdays at 7 p.m. EST, same time as we gathered every night throughout the first year and a half of the pandemic. Usually it’s just me, live streaming from wherever I happen to be that night, spending some time talking, hanging, and playing for the gatherers. Once every weekend we gather from a band show on the road. We’ll pick a fun stage or concert setting and take the gatherers along with us for the entire night.

You’ve dropped multiple singles this year. Are these songs singular, self-contained songs or are they going to be part of a larger work like an EP or full length? Also, how do these songs represent your growth as a musician since your last full-length release?

We’re working on 20+ studio songs right now. We call it the album project. It’s an ironic name because rather than wait for the album to be done, we’ve been simply releasing each song as we finish them. In addition, we seem to keep adding new songs to the list as I write and we arrange new stuff for our fan community. For now it’s a process that feels really good to us.

To answer your second question, some of the songs we’ve been working on and playing out for a while — but many of them are newly written and arranged. I love how our band has evolved musically of the last few years. Poche, Corinna, and Alex are such incredible players and artists. It is one of our deepest joys to continue to challenge ourselves as we attempt to take our arrangements and harmonies to the next level.

Everyone has been through so much over these past years. On top of it all I’ve gotten married, became a dad, lost my own father to cancer … been sharing it all with this community in real time on camera and on stage, and I’d like to think it’s all getting poured into the songs I’m writing.

Obviously, the past two years changed everything for the music world. How did the past two years change your approach to music — whether it’s writing, recording, performing, etc?

Everything’s changed for me. These days I want to be creating art in real time for the people who are connected to me and my music … in-person is great, but online works too.  I share songs as I write them now — even when they’re unfinished. We do the same from the stage as a band, our mission being to never spend an entire night in our comfort zone…to always be pushing ourselves to be better…to let our fans experience the train wrecks as well as those magic, unplanned moments.   i’m less interested in presenting a finished product to the world. i want our fan community to experience us creating art as our lives unfold, and in experiencing it, they inevitably end up impacting the art itself.

Can you tell us more about your charity group, RallySound?

Rallysound’s mission is to empower community through music. We try to do this in a bunch of ways throughout the year. The band plays a lot of shows that are connected to causes.  We support schools. We host our own festival each year called The Ramble, dedicated to ending veteran homelessness in New England. Honestly, this work happens at every show as this community continues to grow and become more engaged and connected to one another.

You also have your annual show The Ramble coming up next month — can you talk about who’s going to be on this year?

I cannot…

But I can tell you that they are some of my favorite artists in the Northeast, and I can’t wait for August 27th! For those of you down here in asbury park who can’t come north and be with us in person, we will be live streaming the entire day, so you can still be with us!  The coolest thing is that every time another person joins us on the livestream it boosts the signal across the internet, and The Ramble becomes more visible to the circle of people you’re connected with. Simply by watching and enjoying you are helping us become more impactful! You can find out more here: getrambled.com

If someone wanted come out to Asbury Jams at Wonder Bar to hear you guys play – what song of yours would you suggest they “pre-game” with (listen to before they come to the show) in order to fully get what The Adam Ezra Group is all about?

Go to our Spotify channel and just enjoy. We never use a setlist and every show is different, so I honestly have no idea what will happen at the Wonder Bar on Thursday. In fact, even the songs you listen to may very well sound completely different if we play them that night!

I will say this though — we love playing Asbury Park and this is a show that all of us have been looking forward to all summer. This usually makes for an exciting night on stage.

What do you love about being in this band?

Being a part of something that inspires me and is so much bigger than myself.

What’s been one of your favorite experiences on the road so far this year?

I did a pop-up show down the road from my house last week to raise money for our local food pantry. My wife, Alley, brought our 10 month old daughter, Willa, out to her first show. Can’t tell you how amazing it was to see my little girl smiling up at me while I did this thing that I love to do.

What are you most excited about for the band in 2022?

Playing around the country for real human beings in person.

The Adam Ezra Group performs at Asbury Jams at The Wonder Bar on Thursday July 28 with Mojohand. Tickets are $10.

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.
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