John Abrams, one-third of Canadian trio The Abrams Brothers, said that their most recent trip to Nashville – where they performed at 3rd and Lindsay – was definitely a memorable experience.
"It was a fantastic opportunity for us, having grown up playing Bluegrass and learning to be pickers before we started writing songs and recording. Playing with the Time Jumpers was such a thrill for us, and getting to meet them made for a pretty cool night."
Their trips to Nashville have also included appearances on one of the most hallowed stages of all – the Grand Ole Opry. The band, which consists of brothers John and James Abrams and their cousin Elijah Abrams, were in Music City promoting their latest album, "Northern Redemption."
"I think there is something to country music, or certainly roots music that maintains a sense of togetherness in away," he tells Billboard. "We are the fourth generation of musicians in our family, and that's the kind of music you can sit down in the living room and play together. That also spills over to country music. I guess you could say that Nashville is a pretty big living room."
Just like their album encompasses many different styles, so do their influences, as John says two of the biggest might seem very far apart, but there is one basic similarity.
"James and I learned how to sing harmony to Louvin Brothers tapes in the back of our grandparents' station wagon, and the Beach Boys kind of have a similar sound – at least with the family harmony. For us, since we were a family, those sounds are something we've always been attracted to. But, aside from that, Northern Redemption was a record where we were influenced by Neil Young, the Band, Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson, Joni Mitchell, and other Canadian songwriters who have made a huge impact throughout North America, but also have done a great job at painting the Canadian landscape. That's what we tried to do. We pulled from a broad range of influences for the album."
Another more recent influence is the rock band Coldplay, whom they cover on Northern Redemption with a stirring cover of "Vida La Vida." Abrams says that "We were wanting to do a song that was on the charts, and do a bluegrass / rock version of the song – for something that was a little different. So, once we started recording it, we saw how well their writing could be adapted. It just kind of speaks to the character of the song, and how well written it is."
With response to the record growing, the dates are filling up on the band's calendar.
"We're continuing to tour heavily throughout the United States and Canada, with a lot of festivals coming up. We're opening up for Alan Jackson at one of the festivals in Canada. We've got a trip to Israel – the fourth time we've gone there, to headline the Jacob's Ladder folk festival. That'll be a lot of fun. We're always writing songs, so there's always the advent of another project coming up, and we're seeing a lot of great response to the record on both sides of the border. That means we get to go out and meet the fans and form a relationship with them, which I think is really key for us, and we're both excited about," he says.