Abraham Alexander

Show Review: Abraham Alexander at Antone’s

Show Reviews

Abraham Alexander at Antone’s

There’s a line of people stretched past the shoe shine chairs into downtown. Antone’s famed blues club sits in the heart of the entertainment district in Austin, and it’s fourth location has seen the most diverse line-up of styles. The memorabilia spread throughout the interior pays tribute to the blues legends that made the trip to a once small college town in Texas.

Dimly lit glass globes hang above the room-length bar. A disco ball spins above the crowd and sprays the room with flashes of light. A three-piece mural of Muddy Waters and old concert posters cover the inside wall next to the stage.

Abraham Alexander
Antone’s Nightclub. Photo by Andrew Blanton.

The band appears in matching black attire under red and yellow stage lights. The organ starts to play and the crowd quiets down. A mood is slowly capturing the room. A three piece choir erupts for Abraham Alexander’s entrance.

“Today I’m headlining my own show,” Alexander proudly announces as he tells the audience of his previous performances at the club opening for other artists. “Thank you so much for making it a reality. One thing I truly believe is the second person that believes in the dream is more important than the dreamer themselves, because they validate that dream, and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you guys.”

Alexander started out on his acoustic guitar with minimal effects as he performed his album SEA/SONS. The crowd fully embraced the artist as he told the story of “Tears Run Dry,” a song penned for a friend’s wedding anniversary that proved to be quite the challenge.

“I can’t do it. I can’t relate. I don’t know what forty is,” Alexander said as the crowd laughed. “Did y’all ride horses or something like that?.”

After an injury led to downtime for recovery, and pharmaceutical medication was prescribed, Alexander tackled this song.

“I was laying up in bed. I was on pills, inebriated, and I watched one of the dopest movies of all time… A Walk to Remember. True story. And I was like ‘you know what? I can write this song,’” Alexander said. “This is how high on pills I was.”

Abraham Alexander
Abraham Alexander performs at Antone’s Nightclub. Photo by Andrew Blanton.

The Fort Worth native has proved to be wise beyond his years with this album. “Tears Run Dry” is a beautifully written sentimental ballad. “This is the part of the movie scene where I take your hand,” Alexander sings. “Darling if you let me love you and let me hold you, you’ll see those tears run dry.” The backup singers really create a grand feel to the band.

SEA/SONS features gospel legend Mavis Staples on “Deja Vu” that tells the tragic story of Kalief Browder, a teenager from the Bronx that was falsely accused of theft and was sent to Rikers Island Jail while professing his innocence.

“He spent three years in Rikers Island and two thirds of his time was spent in solitary confinement,” Alexander said.

Browder faced tremendous abuse while incarcerated, and was given the option of release if he confessed to a crime he did not commit.

“It’s crazy how the person with integrity is actually the one behind bars,” Alexander said.

Browder was released after three years but passed away due to suicide, unable to bear the weight of the trauma he endured in prison.

“This song isn’t about black and white, it’s about a system that is blind but the scales are tipped with the coin. Kalief’s Mom could have bailed him out of jail if she had three thousand dollars, but she was living on seven hundred dollars a month and had other kids to take care of,” Alexander said. “Deja Vu is to honor his legacy and for others like him.”

There is a heavy arrangement for this song, with the bass drum pulsing throughout and the guitar ringing all six strings. The organ layers in and provides bass notes as the singers harmonize.

“Tell the truth, it will set you free,” Abraham Alexander sings. “Preacher’s words ring loud in me. Blind lady, hear my plea, justice, no heresy. But you’re not listening, modern-day slavery.”

The room remained full for the entire performance of SEA/SONS. Alexander had a diverse crowd of all age groups and his message of empowerment and hope really spoke to his audience. There was a tall man wearing a cowboy hat in front that knew every word to the album. Although the subject matter of the night was heavy at times, Alexander’s introduction style created a moment to laugh with every break. There were tears flowing in multiple songs including “Stay” that features Gary Clark Jr.

“Tell me if I go too far. Would I become the lonesome, lone star? Tell me if I go too far. Would I ever find my way back?,” Alexander sings. “I love the summer rain, but I’ll miss Libby’s face. I love the London streets, but I’ll miss the Texas highways. No matter where I lay my head. You know where my heart remains.”

Alexander’s music is so versatile that it can speak to a wide audience. It’s perfectly soulful in all the best ways, sentimental enough to make you cry, beautiful to dance to, and as he proved leading the crowd in the chorus for “Stay,” fun to sing along to. With the support behind him, and his incredible songwriting ability, Alexander is a rising star that’s not one to miss.

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Enjoy our previous coverage here: REVIEW: Abraham Alexander “SEA/SONS”





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