It’s hard for John and James Abrams to recall a time in their young lives where they weren’t creating and playing music together. As fourth-generation musicians, The Abrams have taken the “family business” to a whole new level with their recent signing to Warner Music Canada and major label self-titled debut EP. The Abrams is a departure from their earlier work, spurred by Gavin Brown – the Juno award-winning and Grammy nominated producer. Brown (Billy Talent, Metric, Three Days Grace) took it as a personal challenge to bring out the best in The Abrams and introduce them to a broader audience. The resulting EP does indeed make an indelible first impression, yet is only a taste of what The Abrams and Brown have created together. Knowing now what they can accomplish in the studio, and how to translate that to the stage, The Abrams are fully prepared to take a place alongside Canada’s best-known country music stars.
Only in their mid-twenties, the brothers have had a 16-year touring career internationally, playing many high profile venues and festivals across the United States, Canada, Europe, The United Kingdom and Israel. In 2005, they became the youngest Canadians to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, in 2008 they released Blue On Brown, a collection of Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie songs, and in 2011 they released Northern Redemption, their first all-original album, which nonetheless echoed the work of their classic country heroes such as the Louvin Brothers and Jim & Jesse. Arlo Guthrie once wrote that “The Abrams Brothers are way too young to be playing that good,” and this sentiment still stands today.
Beyond their accomplishments on the road and in the studio, the brothers have a long history of humanitarian and charitable work, which includes hundreds of thousands of dollars raised over the course of their career for children’s programs in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. They were also awarded the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin in 2006 by the Daniel Pearl Foundation in New York City, who proclaimed the brothers as cultural ambassadors between the Middle East and the West. The prestigious violin is awarded in memory of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journalist who was murdered by Al-Qaeda in 2002.
Since signing with Warner, their new major-label debut EP slowly emerged out of an intense two-year period of writing and recording that began almost immediately after The Abrams and Gavin Brown first met in January 2014 at Brown’s Noble Street Studios in Toronto. No idea was left untested, and different approaches to the material were often still being explored right up until the final mix. The brothers knew early in the process that they had chosen the right collaborator after seeing how Brown shared their tireless work ethic and tenacity.
Since the release of the EP, the brothers have continued their success this year with another headline tour of Canada, Israel and the UK (the “Continental Drifters Tour”) followed by a Roots Group of the Year win at the CMA Ontario Awards.