During their nine-year history, the New Jersey-based Amber Blues have released two critically acclaimed albums (A Year and Some Days in 2007 and Your Next Obsession in 2010), built an enthusiastic following, performed countless shows, and stood up for social causes they believe in (including animal rescue). But with their third album, The Colors That You See, Amber Blues are taking it to the next level creatively—and one of the people they have to thank for that is Israeli producer Kobi Swissa. The Colors That You See marks the first time that Amber Blues used an outside producer from start to finish, and thanks to Swissa’s guidance and direction, they have never sounded more focused.
Amber Blues consists of guitarist Jimmy Clark, lead singer Tarek Ismail, bassist Dave Brumberg, and drummer Tom Gerardi, who call their music New Classic Rock. Drawing inspiration from different rock eras, New Classic Rock combines elements of the classic rock of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s with elements of the modern alternative rock of the 1990s, 2000s, and early 2010s. Amber Blues have both an inter-generational appeal and an interfaith appeal; their lineup includes a devout Muslim who grew up in Egypt (Ismail), a Jewish-American (Brumberg), and an Italian-American Catholic from Staten Island (Gerardi), and Clark describes his own outlook as a “Celtic Pagan spirituality.”
Amber Blues started in 2003, when Clark and Brumberg founded the band’s original lineup. Ismail came on board in 2005, and Gerardi joined in early 2011.
“I feel that as a band, we really know who we are at this point,” Brumberg asserts. “This album is called The Colors That You See because you’re seeing the true colors of Amber Blues.”
* For full bio, please visit amberblues.com
Tarek Ismail - Vocals, Synth, Piano/Keyboards
Jimmy Clark - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Didgeridoo
Dave Brumberg - Vocals, Bass
Tom Gerardi - Drums
"A Year And Some Days" released 01-05-08
" Your Next Obsession" released 11-24-10.
"The Colors That You See" to be released Sept 15-16 2012
Hear complete albums for free at www.AmberBlues.com
Everybody's Trying To Hold You Down
A Little More Lightefied
The Colors That You See (The Peacock Song)
Poetry for the State
When You Were Mine
The Colors That You See / Opple Topple Festival
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• Q: Describe your new album, Colors That You See. How is it different from your previous albums? ...•
Q: Describe your new album, Colors That You See. How is it different from your previous albums?
A: This is the first album that we brought on a producer (Kobi Swissa) and he brought a consistency to the project that we had lacked on the first 2 albums (A Year And Some Days-2008 & Your Next Obsession-2010).
The last 2 albums were very eclectic and genre-spanning, where TCTYS is very much a strong Rock album through and through. There's still variety, which is an AB standard, but it's more focused. There's no funk or Latin influences on this one.
Q: What made you decide to use Israeli producer, Kobe Swissa, for the third album? Why did you use one producer for this entire album but not for your two previous albums?
A: We had always been DIY so hiring a producer on top of the usual expenses was never really an option. Plus we were trying to establish ourselves. When I (Jimmy Clark) met Kobi for our first meeting we talked in depth about the "new direction" the band was seeking and it was clear that he had the experience and vision to help elevate us higher. He had a solid respect for us before we brought him on..he was impressed with how far we had gotten without a producer (or record label, contract, manager etc..it's really ALL DIY) so there was a great mutual respect which made the process an absolute delight. Though we felt we were well evolved, we saw immediately that Kobi had some skills that were more advanced, so we got an education on too of a great record.
Q: Explain the Amber Blues self proclaimed genre of ‘New Classic Rock.’ What influenced you to end up with that genre of sound?
We have always felt that we are a 70s hard rock band trapped in modern times. We LOVE classic rock but we also love music from today, so naturally the blend would occur.
A: There has been NU-Metal, and Neo-Classical Metal/Rock...so we figured why not "new classic rock". It's got a good ring to it an it's not an established genre, yet MANY artists/bands can easily fall into the category.
Our main influences are Queen, Billy Joel, The Beatles, The Killers and Muse. We dabble in the Deep Purple realm of sound also.
Q: It seems like Amber Blues is pretty involved in the community, advocating animal rescue, working with Project H.O.M.E., and Youth Rock. How did you get involved in these charities?
A: Youth Rock, as we call it, is something that we all feel strongly about b/c it's a way to guide the future. Dave and I are both full time music teachers; I own my own company doing private and group instruction while Dave works at an Academy and directs their youth programs. We involve our students in live performances at least once a year, usually at our big events (cd releases, special events).
Project Home is a fantastic organization that I discovered while reading an article about Jon Bon Jovi. He's very involved with them and there were links and such, so I checked it out and was totally impressed. Their goals are very lofty, notably their intent to end Homlessness in Philadelphia, but they have the community and resources to make it happen. They also have many educational and social development programs, which is where we have been able to get involved. Last summer I took on a 17 year old intern, Vernon Jordan III, who wanted experience in the music industry, and so we worked together for 3 months. It was a great experience and we are still tight today. He's graduated hogh school with honors this June and is already digging in for college next year.
Lastly, the animal welfare work, is very near and dear to us. My wife and I own "Helping All Little Things", a small animal rescue and sanctuary. We mainly deal with and specialize in Guinea Pigs, Chinchillas and other small critters. We involve AB as much as we can, and often we'll do rescue operations while on tour. So basically we pick up and drop off the furballs to places on the way to or near our tour destinations.
"Your Next Obsession" Review
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Amber Blues Your Next Obsession By Alex Henderson Major record companies used to be great at a...Amber Blues
Your Next Obsession
By Alex Henderson
Major record companies used to be great at artist development, and if it took two or three albums for the label to help a band fully develop, so be it. But major labels don’t have the patience they once did, which means that it’s up to a lot of bands to develop via the indie path. And New Jersey-based Amber Blues continued to develop nicely on their self-released, self-produced second album, Your Next Obsession. Stylistically, this 2010 release was not a departure from their 2007 debut, A Year and Some Days; Amber Blues still had a variety of Generation-X and Baby Boomer influences and continued to be inspired by the classic rock of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s as well as the alternative rock of the 1990s and 2000s. Their sound, which they like to describe as “New Classic Rock,” maintained elements of Queen, Billy Joel, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple along with elements of Gen-X alterna-rock. But with Your Next Obsession, Amber Blues made a step forward as songwriters. A Year and Some Days was an enjoyable debut, but Your Next Obsession was slightly stronger and even more enjoyable.
Amber Blues’ “New Classic Rock” aesthetic asserts itself in different ways on Your Next Obsession. Parts of this album are relaxed and laid-back, including “Never Get Back,” the unapologetically psychedelic “Could You Imagine” (which recalls the Beatles’ post-1965 output) and the bluesy, humorous “Lazy.” Meanwhile, Amber Blues’ show listeners their more exuberant side on “Seven,” “Losing Sanity” and “When You Were Mine” (not to be confused with the Prince gem that has been covered by Mitch Ryder, Cyndi Lauper, the Pillows, Penny Flanagan and others). All of those selections rock passionately yet underscore the fact that Amber Blues are a consistently melodic band. Even at their most exuberant, they are melodic. Your Next Obsession never becomes an exercise in volume for the sake of volume; genuine, honest-to-God songcraft prevails whether Amber Blues are feeling passionate or mellow.
The overtly political “Poetry for the State” contains hints of jazz as well as a reggae influence. The song might remind some listeners of the Police, who were known for fusing rock and reggae elements back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. And the fact that “Poetry for the State” has a political message is quite appropriate in light of how political reggae can be.
The moody “Can You Tell Me Why (It’s Only You)” has an appealing Latin influence. The song isn’t rock en español; all of the lyrics are in English. But melodically and rhythmically, the way that “Can You Tell Me Why (It’s Only You)” blends alternative rock with Latin elements is the type of thing that rock en español bands often do.
Your Next Obsession came seven years after Amber Blues’ formation, and the 2010 lineup on this album consists of lead singer/frontman Tarek Ismail (a 2005 arrival who contributes both electric keyboards and acoustic piano), guitarist/co-founder Jimmy Clark, bassist/co-founder Dave Brumberg and drummer Brian Krutzel (who has since left Amber Blues). This is Krutzel’s only album with the band, although Clark, Ismail and Brumberg are heard on both A Year and Some Days and Your Next Obsession. And it is evident that the three of them had formed a strong musical bond in the half decade they had been playing together. Their sense of musical camaraderie really comes through.
A Year and Some Days and Your Next Obsession are both well worth hearing. But Your Next Obsession is the more essential of the two, and this CD was definitely a creative step forward for Amber Blues.
"A Year And Some Days" Review
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Amber Blues A Year and Some Days By Alex Henderson Some bands will record an exceptional deb...Amber Blues
A Year and Some Days
By Alex Henderson
Some bands will record an exceptional debut album only to be plagued with the infamous sophomore slump on their second album; they show a lot of promise at first but quickly run out of gas creatively. New Jersey-based Amber Blues, however, have taken a good thing and continued to make it better. As between their debut album, A Year and Some Days, and their second album, Your Next Obsession, the latter is the more essential of the two. Nonetheless, the self-produced, self-released A Year and Some Days is a solid, engaging debut that has a lot going for it in terms of emotion, feeling, musicianship and songwriting.
When A Year and Some Days came out in 2007, Amber Blues had been together for four years. Their lineup included co-founders Jimmy Clark (guitar) and Dave Brumberg (bass), 2005 arrival Tarek Ismail (who sings lead and is also heard on acoustic piano and electric keyboards) and two musicians who have since left the band (percussionist Mark Nettleingham and drummer Lamar Prout). Seth Pincus, who contributes guitar and didgeridoo (an instrument associated with Australian Aboriginals) and was with Amber Blues from 2003-2007, is also heard on this 41-minute CD. And even though Amber Blues were a work in progress in 2007, A Year and Some Days makes it clear that they already had their own sound and identity at that point—a sound that was influenced by 1990s/2000s alternative rock yet obviously got a great deal of inspiration from old-school classic rockers who included Billy Joel, Queen, Deep Purple, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin. A Year and Some Days is diverse, ranging from the laid-back mood of “I Don’t Know,” “One Way Fee” and “The Lights Have Gone to Bed” to the aggressive, ballsy hard rock of “Shallow Ground” (which is easily the album’s most in-your-face track). The more forceful offerings aren’t quite full-fledged heavy metal, but they definitely underscore Amber Blues’ appreciation of hard rock. And Ismail shows himself to be an expressive frontman whether the mood is relaxed or hard-driving.
Melodically, “When the Sun Goes Down” hints at Joel’s “Movin’ Out,” but the song rocks harder and has an appealing personality of its own. And the fact that Amber Blues have a strong Billy Joel influence yet also draw inspiration from the hard rock and arena rock bravado of Queen, Deep Purple and Zeppelin is part of the intrigue; not many artists can claim Joel’s infectious, piano-driven pop-rock as an influence yet still have some relevance to hard rock. And adding to the intrigue is the funk/soul influence incorporated on “S.L.F.,” “Red” and the instrumental “Funky Jim Sox”; those tunes aren’t funky in the way that Parliament/Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins, Tower of Power or the Gap Band were funky, but they are funky in the rock-oriented way that Queen, Peter Frampton and Frank Marino’s Jimi Hendrix-influenced Mahogany Rush could get funky. While Parliament/Funkadelic and Rick James brought rock influence to a funk/soul foundation, Queen and Frampton brought some funkiness to a rock foundation—and the latter approach is what Amber Blues are going for on the funkier parts of A Year and Some Days.
Amber Blues continued to progress creatively on Your Next Obsession, but their recording career was off to en enjoyable start with A Year and Some Days.
Don't paint Amber Blues in a corner
New for 2008, Some words, some sounds and some something
Amber Blues goes way beyond playing blues
Amber Blues to host CD release party in Asbury
Bon Jovi guitar auction, bands at charity event
Asbury Music Award Ballots
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http://www.phantompowerproductions.com/documents/AMAballot2007.pdf Nominated for best Jam Band an...http://www.phantompowerproductions.com/documents/AMAballot2007.pdf
Nominated for best Jam Band and Best Keyboard player
Amber Blues Are Absolutely Fantastic
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• Amber Blues are absolutely fantastic. Their performance was energetic and solid. I love how they m...• Amber Blues are absolutely fantastic. Their performance was energetic and solid. I love how they mix up their sets with original songs and classic rock covers. They should be on the radio!!!
newbrunswicknightout.com/amberblues | July 01, 2010 by Caren Kleiman
Amber Blues At Millennium Music Conference
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But perhaps my favorite of this day’s trade show performances came from New Jersey-based group Amber...But perhaps my favorite of this day’s trade show performances came from New Jersey-based group Amber Blues. Three of their four members provided strong melodies and harmonies, soulfulness and charisma on their set of numbers, which included two original songs and a stunning a cappella rendition of Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time.” After their mini-set, armed with didjeridoo, guitarist Jimmy Clark triggered a brief duel back and forth across the trade show floor with percussion merchant Fredrico on bongos, which brought unanimous applause from onlookers.
the professor speaks : jim price
Amber Blues is capable of functioning as an original or cover/tribute band. In total Amber Blues can perform for up to 10 hours, without repeats when all material is utilized.
Original sets consist of tracks from all 3 of their albums, as well as unreleased songs/compositions.
Cover/Tribute sets consist of music spanning from, the 1950's-Present Day. Our primary covers are from, but not limited to, artists such as Billy Joel, Queen and The Beatles.
Other artists covered include; Deep Purple, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, A-Ha, The Grateful Dead, David Bowie, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and many more.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.