Adam Ezra to present acoustic night at Broward Center
Adam Ezra is usually surrounded by the band he created in Boston, but this week he’s bringing a special acoustic solo performance to Fort Lauderdale.
Ezra will kick off the Broward Center for the Performing Art’s singer-songwriter-musician series in the Abdo New River Room on Thursday, Sept. 15.
The acoustic evening is a way for him to return to his roots, Ezra says by phone on his way to meet his eponymous band for a gig in Syracuse, N.Y. Following the Fort Lauderdale show, he’ll head to Captiva Island, Fla., to participate in the Island Hopper Songwriter Fest.
“While I play with an amazing band these days, I wanted to just come out by myself as a solo artist, dig in and take my time,” he says.
He wants audiences to experience a different vibe, to be part of what he says should feel like a conversation between the audience and the artist. He confides that he doesn’t plan out a set.
“The concerts that have always inspired me are the ones that don’t feel like a performance,” he says.
It’s this grassroots approach that has organically grown his following. He’s not signed by a major record label, nor will you hear his songs on mainstream radio, but there’s no doubt that he has a flock of rabid fans.
Born Adam Ezra Olshansky in Corning, N.Y., he was raised in Wayland, Mass., and later returned to New York to attend Colgate University in Hamilton. In between semesters, he worked on a dairy farm in Cookstown, Ontario, as a farmhand. And he was writing songs.
“I didn’t really know how to write a great song. I didn’t know how to use my voice yet,” he says. “But the more I wrote, and the more I sang, and the more songs that came out of me, the more I felt [that] the most honest parts of me … were showing up.”
The next stop was Chicago, where Ezra says he was hired as a “recess guy” at an elementary school. But it was the music that was front and center. He played open mics. He then traveled the country.
“I was trying to scrape gigs together, living out of my car for a while,” he says.
He returned to Boston where he had a vision of forming a band: “I wanted to be a part of something that was bigger than myself.”
In the early 2000s, he created the Adam Ezra Group, which is known for its Herculean tour schedule. It consists of fiddler Corinna Smith, drummer Alex Martin, and bassist Poche Ponce.
Despite the talent, he says, they couldn’t get hired anywhere in the competitive musical landscape of Boston.
“And so I found one of the emptiest bars I could find in Boston. I asked the owners if we could set up in the corner and just play and they said OK. We called all of our friends and that was how it started. We started playing Friday nights and, after a little while, there was a line out the door,” he says about playing the club Porters near the Boston Garden.
Then bars outside of Boston reached out and then places in New Hampshire.
“That was our story. It has been one person at a time for the last two decades, and it’s been for most of the 20 years, and we would play in any bar that would hire us and oftentimes in danger of outnumbering audiences that we would play for.”
Eventually, a community evolved around the band’s music and they started playing “at real music venues, theaters and festivals.”
Inspiration for songwriting comes from just about anywhere, says the married father of one.
“I’m inspired by life journeys that we all take,” he says. “I love writing songs that tell stories, whether they are my own or someone else’s or a made-up story. Art reflects the lives we lead and the journeys we take.”
Ezra says it’s been a long time since he’s performed in Florida, “and I can’t wait to reconnect with people. It’s one of the reasons I’m looking forward to being at the Broward Center.”
The center, he says, is “helping to keep independent American music alive.”
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Other singer-songwriters in the Broward Center’s series include:
- Sept. 23: Andy McKee
- Nov. 12: Trent Harmon
- Nov. 13: Dan Rodriguez
- Nov. 17: David Cook
- Jan. 27, 2023: Susan Werner
- April 27: Vance Gilbert
WHAT: A Solo Acoustic Evening with Adam Ezra
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022
WHERE: Abdo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave. Fort Lauderdale
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