Ryan and Sam Weber grew up playing music in their hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. At the ages of 21 and 18, they sent a demo to the infamous Ronnie Hawkins and, to their surprise, received a call from the legend himself, requesting that they come to his Canadian home and audition for him. This led to an offer the brothers could not refuse: they were invited to Hawkins’ farm to begin his infamous 90 Day Boot Camp. To earn their keep, they did farm work during the day, the same process that many ex-Hawks had gone through years before: farm hand, roadie, driver, merchandise handler, before eventually joining the band and becoming official members of The Hawks.
The touring began with Hawks, a dream come true for these two young men. This amazing opportunity lead to the Weber brothers playing with some of their idols: Levon Helm, Garth Hudson of The Band, as well as musicians like Jeff Healey, Tom Cochrane, Kris Kristofferson and David Wilcox.
They then formed their own band, The Weber Brothers, adding Shai Peer (keys) and Marcus Browne (drums). The band has since released seven albums and toured all over Canada, and throughout the U.S. and Europe. Their latest album, Left Right Left Right, is an impressive 26-track-long collection, making this album their most ambitious album to date. It’s diverse and dynamic, showcasing how talented these guys really are.
They are currently touring all over Canada; check out their website for all their tour dates and locations. If you get a chance to hear these guys perform live you will no doubt be amazed. As Ronnie Hawkins said, “They have the talent to be as big as anyone in the world.” A truly amazing compliment for this band, and I couldn’t agree more.
I haven’t personally seen The Weber Brothers perform live, but I spoke with Dan Schwarts (drummer of The Key Frames) who has attended several of their shows, to give me some insight on what fans can expect to experience.
“I’ve seen the Webers perform live close to a dozen times and am always blown away by their musicianship and intensity. To the man, these guys are top-notch players and I really find that you don’t get nearly as much a sense of that in their recordings compared to their live performances,” Schwartz says.
“A Weber Brothers set invariably consists of multiple solo parts or instrumental breakdowns that are really phenomenal. This might consist of a really quiet, melodic section of music with highly intricate instrumental work and/or a balls-to-the-walls crescendo of barely controlled keys and guitar ‘duels’. Ryan Weber’s upright bass playing can be fast and furious and Sam’s guitar work is some of the most soulful stuff I’ve ever heard. When you watch them perform, it’s obvious that these guys are road warriors with hundreds, maybe thousands, of shows under their belts.
“Of course,” he continues. “None of this would work particularly well if the musicianship wasn’t underwritten with really solid songs. Fortunately, I think they’ve written some tunes that, perhaps in another era or with different circumstances in today’s music scene, would have already produced multiple radio hits. But while you can probably get a taste for their songwriting through their albums, I’m not so sure that their monster playing really comes through in that medium.”