Hoopla

Ezra sings praises at CSPS

ADAM EZRA GROUP PHOTO

The Adam Ezra Group is returning to one of Ezra’s favorite venues, CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids, for a high-energy concert Sunday night (6/30).
ADAM EZRA GROUP PHOTO The Adam Ezra Group is returning to one of Ezra’s favorite venues, CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids, for a high-energy concert Sunday night (6/30).

Two unsung heroes have joined forces to produce a hurricane that’s coming to Cedar Rapids.

John Oates is the unsung half of the venerable duo Hall & Oates. He helped pen many of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame duo’s big hits, such as “Man-eater,” “You Make My Dreams” and “Did It In a Minute.”

Singer songwriter Adam Ezra also doesn’t receive enough notice. The leader of the Adam Ezra Group crafts moving and catchy roots rock.

Ezra and Oates teamed up to co-write a number of cuts on Ezra’s latest album, “Hurricane Wind.”

“John and I have written about nine or 10 songs together,” Ezra said by phone from his Boston home. “We come from different places stylistically, but we’re inspired by a lot of the same stuff. It’s fun going over melodies and chord ideas with him. I wouldn’t have come up with the finished concepts without him.

“I’ve learned a lot from John, who is also a phenomenal solo artist. I love John. We’re kindred spirits.”

One difference between the laid-back Oates and the charismatic Ezra is that the latter is a dynamic performer.

“I love to connect with the audience,” Ezra said. “There’s nothing like performing and seeing people smile. We see that a lot during the year and it propels us.”

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The Adam Ezra Group plays more than 200 shows a year. and Ezra said that CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids, where the band will perform Sunday night (6/30), is at the top of their list.

“CSPS is honestly one of our favorite places to play,” he said. “I love the sound of that room. There’s a lot of echo at CSPS. Some sound engineers will add reverb to get that sound, but you guys are lucky that you get that sound naturally. I think there’s also a certain spirit there that’s different.”

Expect Ezra and his bandmates — violist Corinna Smith, keyboardist Josh Gold, bassist Francis Hickey and percussionists Alex Martin and Turtle — to preview some new songs in Cedar Rapids.

“We have a lot of fresh material that we’re excited about,” Ezra said. “The new songs are like the old songs. They’re stories. I love to tell stories. I consider myself a folk musician. Music makes such an impact. Music is a reflection of culture and music has the power to bring communities together. I’ve always felt that live music can take people to another place.”

Ezra came to that conclusion while attending concerts as a kid growing up in Boston.

“I’ll never forget feeling that connection while going and seeing bands like the Allman Brothers Band in Boston at Great Woods when I was a kid,” he said. “I remember loving seeing Steve Miller, and his songs and energy had such a great impact on me. It was so poignant for me when our group had the chance to open up for Steve Miller. I can’t tell you how great it is to connect with my musical heroes.”

Ezra is about returning the favor. Whenever he has a chance, he encourages young singer/songwriters to take the next step.

“I’m all about giving back,” he said. “I like to encourage young recording artists. If you’re compelled to make music, you have to go for it. If you don’t, you’ll regret it. I have no regrets. I take chances, and that is often the most fun part of being in this band.”

“When the Devil Came Up to Boston,” a makeover of The Charlie Daniels Band hit, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” is an example of the freewheeling act taking a risk.

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“We can be out of the box,” Ezra said. “We have no problem being different. If something works, we’ll do it.”

What’s working for the group is live albums. The group recently finished its third concert document, “Live Album Concert Series: Better Than Bootleg.” Copies will be on hand at CSPS.

“What we do sounds better than a one-microphone bootleg,” Ezra said. “Live is the way to experience what we do, since every show with us is different.”

Get Out!

WHAT: Adam Ezra Group

WHERE: CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids

WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday (6/30)

TICKETS: $16 advance, $19 door; CSPS Box Office, (319) 364-1580 or Legionarts.org/events/upcoming/

BAND’S WEBSITE: Adamezra.com

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