Until last Tuesday, the CD release party for local band Adam Ezra Group (AEG) was scheduled to be just that: a release party. But when disaster struck in Haiti, the Boston-based musicians changed their plans.
“Our thoughts are down there with the folks in the midst of the crisis,” said Adam Ezra of Somerville (guitar, vocals, lyrics, and of course, the band's namesake). “We thought we should share our big night with them.”
The band – Ezra, Josh Gold (keys), Robin Vincent Soper (bass), and the enigmatic Turtle (percussion) – agreed to send all proceeds from last Saturday night’s show at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, presented by WERS 88.9, to victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti via Partners in Health.
Like AEG, Partners in Health is based in Boston. Paul Farmer, hero of Tracy Kidder’s book “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” began the organization 20 years ago. The web of hospitals he planted is still up and running in spite of the crisis.
This kind of social activism isn’t a first for AEG. In fact, the day after the release party/benefit show, Ezra planned to play and volunteer at a Boston homeless shelter, the Pine Street Inn.
Ezra is armed with used copies of the band’s last album, “View from the Root” (2008), which they’ve invited fans to trade in for the revamped version being released (or, more exactly, re-released) this week. “It’s like Cash for Clunkers,” said Ezra.
The new album, also called “View from the Root,” is technically a re-release since it features all the same songs as the last album, which AEG’s new management company was eager to promote.
“But we had to make a couple tweaks [first],” said Ezra. “Even though it’s still called View from the Root, it feels like a new project.”
The new “View” features three new tracks – “Scandal,” “She’s just a girl,” and “Wagon Wheel” – as well as several electric guitar remixes. Ezra had to bring the more political lyrics up to date, too.
The folk rock group has been doling out good songs and good vibes at every show since their birth in 2002, regardless of line-up shuffling. Ezra and Turtle have been playing together even longer than that.
Ezra’s lyrics often thrust societal issues into the limelight. Other times, he’s just singing stories. But according to Ezra, one thing never changes.
“We’re about inspiring people and being inspired by people,” said Ezra. “We’re not musicians playing at an audience. We’re all making music together.”
After seeing AEG live, spinning their CD is like sitting in the living room talking with a good friend, and that’s exactly how the band wants it. They see their fans as an ever-growing family, which over the past year has taken root all over New England, down the east coast, out to the Midwest and as far as California.
But Ezra knows there’s no place like home. That’s why he was exicted the release party was at the Paradise.
“Every Boston band dreams of selling out the Paradise,” said Ezra. “But this night is about more than just ourselves.”