Ezra Axelrod

Ezra Axelrod

BandAlternativeAcoustic

Vivid narratives characterized by gritty soulfulness and the stylings of a classical pianist. At once villain, hero and observer, Ezra Axelrod is a gay cowboy searching for his place in the world, exploring the universal themes of his generation with a distinctive personal voice.

Biography

At once villain, hero, and observer, Ezra Axelrod is a gay cowboy falling in and out of love as he searchers for his place in the world. Ezra explores the universal themes of his generation—from identity and sex to politics and violence—by painting intimate, realist portraits of individual experience. He calls his style Vernacular Realist Song: vivid narratives characterized by gritty soulfulness and the stylings of a classical pianist.

Ezra grew up in a small, isolated town in the American West, privy to the stark contrasts, conflicts, and contradictions typical of such places. From an early age, he made sense of his complicated environment through music, engrossed in the works of Bach, Chopin, Albeniz, Ives and even John Cage. He realized that music could be a vehicle for discussing the controversial issues of his community and started penning songs at age 10. He established himself as a gifted songwriter early on, performing for his middle school, high school and at the local university, standing out as a social commentator committed to addressing serious issues in his music.

Ezra grew up in a small, isolated town in the American West, privy to the stark contrasts, conflicts, and contradictions typical of such places. From an early age, he made sense of his complicated environment through music, engrossed in the works of Bach, Chopin, Albeniz, Ives and even John Cage. He realized that music could be a vehicle for discussing the controversial issues of his community and started penning songs at age 10. He established himself as a gifted songwriter early on, performing for his middle school, high school and at the local university, standing out as a social commentator committed to addressing serious issues in his music.

Ezra studied voice, composition and piano at Middlebury College, in Vermont, before moving to London in 2008. Upon arrival in the UK, Ezra soon found himself swept up by a career as a songwriter, recording artist and performer. He recorded his first EP, The Enfield Sessions, with former Jamie Cullum bassist Jules Jackson in November of 2008. He spent the following months giving concerts around London with a small band consisting of cello and guitar. Longing to be in front of his piano again, Ezra returned to a solo piano-vocals arrangement during the summer of 2009, recorded a second EP, and together with entertainment entrepreneur Aubrey Dobson, launched The Menagerie, Central London's only venue for cutting-edge performance art and music. The enterprise is live music venue, record label, distributor and artist management company.

Ezra will embark on a 10-date solo tour from Montreal to New York City starting April 7th 2010.

Lyrics

Around Here

Written By: Ezra Axelrod

Around here, growing up means car keys
It means blood-stained sheets
Around here, rite of passage means strip-tease
It means “get on your knees”

I could use a dose of your
Bad education tonight
I’ve tried with all my might to
Keep my soul intact and my feet dry

Mr D runs the cam in his locker-room fantasy
Says, “Meet me by the mods and I’ll make you my prodigy
I’ll teach you with my hands how to get what you fancy
Here’s the keys, start the car, now surrender your body”

I gave you all my lust for a
Piece of your precious wisdom
I’ll stay if you can take all my
Broken dreams and give me back my straight A’s

Mr D understands I’m his locker-room fantasy
He reads aloud in health class cuz he knows that I’m melting
Cops a feel in the stands cuz I’m better than candy
Let’s me ease off his belt, yes I’m so fond of helping

Around here, growing up means car keys
It means ride with Mr D
Around here, rite of passage means strip-tease
It means keep your eyes on me

Picked him up in my new ride on a Friday night
Took him out to the overlook to watch the fireworks
Taking turns till we got it right
How much longer can this go on, Mr D?

Morning News

Written By: Ezra Axelrod

The monkeys and peacocks screamed in the yard
The morning I turned myself in
A dispatch was sent to America
That read, “We’ve got your suspect held in good hands”
The general was cordial as he slipped off my boots
He said, “No need to worry we’ll be there soon”

Somewhere they’re laughing as they watch the morning news
Saying, “Who would have thought? It’s that kid from my school”
But they don’t know what a boy can do
No they don’t know what a boy can do

The jeep swerved through jungle as we sped toward the capital
A hero would’ve planned his escape
The general proposed that I defer to his side
He said, “You’ll have your freedom, and I’ll have my empire”
He prodded and tempted thinking that I’d give in
But I wouldn’t budge, I just sat there and grinned

I’d rather die with the western sun on the rise
Than live my life as prince here in exile
I’d rather die with the sting of dust in my eyes
Than rot away as a prince here in exile

The general said, “Boy you are truly unwise”
But never was an outlaw who didn’t seek his own demise

It was a morning in April, they were making summer plans
I could have locked up my arms, I could have tied down my hands
But they would never know what a boy can do
No they would never know what a boy can do

Father

Written By: Ezra Axelrod

Father, father are you hiding
In these mountains, in these parched hills?
Father, father are you lost
In these whitewashed canyons
Under the lemon tree, above Africa?

They said I could find you
At the bar around the corner
They said that you’d been hanging around
Too long to remember

Father, father you know I’ve been
Searching down roads built by Romans
In orchards and olive groves
Father, father can you see me from your castle?
I’m climbing these flights of stairs
Are you watching me from up there?

Father, father did you see your reflection in the fountain?
Smoke a cigar on the plaza, a game of cards on the side?
Father, father your rough hands look clean now
Have you stayed away from the fields today?

They said I could find you
In this abandoned doorway
They said around four
You’d be coming back this way

Father, father I am here
Waiting for you

Southern Way

Written By: Ezra Axelrod

Sonny got love in a Southern way
He got one-stop affection on a summer’s day
But when he found the money he just blew away
Cuz a Southern breeze wouldn’t let him stay
It was a cheap-ass trick for a cheap-ass soul
This country’s got ya thinking that your tank is full
But when the money dries up there ain’t no more love
And his hollowed out bones finally take their toll

One more down out on the avenue
And we’re so proud of what we do

E-o, E-o, it’s all over
E-o, E-o, no worries now
Let go below cuz hell’s gone crazy
So lose yourself out in the flames

Sonny left home in a Southern way
He got a shoot-shot promise and a flight delay
But when he pulled into big LA
It was one piece at a time so that he could stay
Big man camera says he likes his face
He says, “Let me take you to a nice quiet place.”
And as he finds himself pressed up against the glass
He knows he’s just another spent piece of ass

One more down out on the avenue
And we’re so proud of what we do

Don’t stop ya now, the walls ain’t thick now
Don’t stop ya now, if my boy is sick now
Don’t stop ya now, just another trick now
Don’t stop Sonny

Reinvention

Written By: Ezra Axelrod

He liked to read me inside out
Pick me up and go through me cover to cover
He said he’d write me a brand new ending
If I snuck into his room and grabbed a hold of his pen

No, I’m not one to reason
No, I’m just a fan of reinvention
So I found no need to resist his designs
In that room where we rehearsed the lines
And made love for the very first time

If I go back to 51 Franklin Street
Will I find the chest where he kept all my secrets?
And locked away our experiments in heartache
The scenes we devised in our attempts at reinvention
How he’d reinvent me

I liked to draw him close and dissect his prose
Tear him apart and reassemble as I’d please
But he likened my revisions to a telenovela
I said, “Boy, get used to it, that’s how I show my love”

I’ll sign this message with drunken affection
I wonder if he’ll take it as a warning sign
Cuz we never learned to live the pragmatic life
If we fuck up again, there’ll still be time for a re-write

So now we’re back at 51 Franklin Street
Is this the chest where he kept all my secrets?
Shall we play our top ten heartaches?
The scenes we reprise in our attempts at reinvention
How he reinvents me

Here’s to novelty
To our gift for scrutiny
Here’s to lunacy and reinvention
Here’s to reinvention

Signal

Written By: Ezra Axelrod

Empty parking lot
Empty shopping carts scattered to the wind
Not a soul around
Not since they burnt this city down

Friday afternoon, radio said it's safe to come out from hiding
Friday afternoon, who could have seen what was coming?

Can anyone hear me there?
I think I've been injured here
The bleeding won't stop I fear
Can anyone hear me there?

Brother listen
Did you hear a car? Maybe our signal got through
Brother keep me warm
Don't let me slip into this calm

Brother will you keep me warm?
I think that's the border there
Brother will you stay with me?
Brother will you keep me warm?

Patria

Written By: Ezra Axelrod

On the eve of surrender
We ordered up another round
But the boy insisted that it be on the house
Each one present stood to recount
His last night in Patria
But the details seemed as questionable
As the Pollyannas among us
Who suggested that we stay
And who laughed with reckless abandon
While the others used guarded language
Unsure of what was safe to be said

Ignoring the sirens we wondered aloud
If the boy had not yet found the whiskey
And although it was scarce he sought to win the group’s favor
When he produced the smuggled bottle
We drank it down unceremoniously
As the bombers began to rumble overhead
Drowning out our foolish banter
For we were far too young
To remember the last revolution
When our fathers used guarded language
Unsure of what was safe to be said

At dawn, they called on the sons of the senators
And we were unable to flee, so we filed one by one
Onto the green where our fathers had won their last battle
And would now serve them well for building their gallows

Bolívar

Written By: Ezra Axelrod, text by David Restrepo

En tus brazos me guardo pero no me escondo
Me duermo pero no me aletargo
Me lleno pero no me desbordo
Me quedo pero no para siempre

Y está tan bien así
Aunque arda un poco como una raspada en el codo
Te quiero como un hermanito
Como un amigo de seis años teniendo yo siete
Como un cómplice de travesuras
Tan necesarias después de las lecciones
De aritmética, del abecedario, de vocabulario inglés
De los partidos de fútbol vueltos competencia

Corro contigo como quien corre
A su árbol de mango favorito
A encaramarse para coger
Los mangos más rojos y amarillos
Antes de que los alcancen los demás
Me siento a tu lado como quien se sienta
En una rama agarrado duro para no caerse, feliz de poderlo hacer
Antes de que vuelvan las monitoras y su cantinela

Cuando me dueles es una astilla que se me metió en la mano
Se saca chupando y al rato se olvida
Porque corremos de regreso
Se acabó el recreo y volvemos a las aulas de clase

(translation)

In your arms I’m guarded but not hidden
I fall asleep but do not grow lethargic
I’m fulfilled but do not overflow
I stay, but not forever

And it’s just right like this
Even if it stings a little like a scrape on the elbow
I love you like a little brother
Like a friend, you six, me seven
Like an accomplice in mischief-making
So necessary after lessons in
Arithmetic, the abc’s and English vocabulary
After soccer games turned competitions

I run with you as one runs
To his favourite mango tree
To climb through its branches
Reaching for the reddest and yellowest mangos
Before the others get to them
I sit next to you as one sits on a branch
Holding on tight so as not to fall, happy for a moment
Before the monitors come yelling

When you hurt me, it’s a splinter that sticks my hand
That I suck out and before long forget
Because we run back, recess is over and we return to the classroom

This Town

Written By: Ezra Axelrod

Daddy said, “Youre gonna rule the world, my son”
He put a gun right down in my hands
Took me out, taught me how to be a man
He said, “Without me and momma by your side you’re gonna have to fight”

So he’s never comin’ back to this town
Not since they took my momma away
And he only sends his love through letters
That always arrive too late

Sheriff came, told me not to be afraid
Pressed his cold hands right down on my shoulders
Momma didn’t cry, even when they took her from me
She said, “If daddy returns to this house for you, they’re gonna take him too”

Well, the preacher said, “Your momma, she’s a rogue one
And your daddy, he done kill a man with his bare hands
If you wanna save yourself, my boy, find God
Cuz around here, son, we ain’t got no room for sinners”

I’m never comin’ back to this town
Not since they cast me down in shame
Daddy told me someday I’d be king
So I’ve set out to make my claim
If you ever expect to find me
You’d better bring along your best men
Cuz I’ll have an army behind me
And I’m gonna fight till the bitter end

Discography

Around Here (2009)--EP
Around Here (2009)--Single
Patria (2009)--EP
The Enfield Sessions (2008)--EP

Set List

Set 1 (app 30 min) Around Here, Patria, Morning News, Signal. Set 2 (app. 20 min) Bolivar, Reinvention, American Motel, Marlow. Set 3 (app. 30 min) Aeroplane, Father, This Town, Famous Blue Raincoat