Lineup: Abraham (guitar, vocals, keyboards, drums, bass, piano, virtual instruments, orchestrations)
Sounds like: A colourful, tuneful mix of prog, AOR, orchestral and hard rock stylings
Current release: First The Honesty, Then The Promise is out now via Sunlight Digital
To help further the cause of up and coming new progressive music, each week we'll be bringing you one of the current issue's Limelight acts, complete with music to listen to. Remember, today's progressive music comes in all manner of guises, and it's important to support the grass roots of prog...
Progressive rock has always savoured the enigma, and Abraham fits squarely into such a category. Including his surname or age, little is known of the California-based singer, songwriter, multi-musician and arranger, though there’s no doubting the quality or appeal of a debut album recently self-released under the handle of the Abraham Music Project.
Abraham’s mother began a lifelong love affair with music by showing him a photograph of The Beatles as they arrived for the first time in America, and at the age of 11 his sister taught him to play Michael Row The Boat Ashore on the guitar. Teenage worship of Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Jethro Tull led Abraham towards his current status via membership of the groups Blind Owl and Answer.
“As far as prog goes, my mind was totally blown by Tales From Topographic Oceans,” Abraham reveals. “That album became such a huge influence on me.”
Abraham not only voices the words and plays just about all of the instrumental parts on AMP’s debut album, First The Honesty, Then The Promise, he also wrote the orchestrations and handled its production. However, musicians of the calibre of Supertramp guitarist Carl Verheyen, Wings’ Laurence Juber and Walfredo Reyes Jr of Santana fame are among those called upon to fill in the gaps.
“When I played the album’s second track Mr Mastermind to Carl he replied, ‘Cool song, all it needs is me,’” Abraham laughs of how he managed to entice Verheyen on board.
The Abraham Music Project’s strain of prog is, at its core, deeply melodic. However, being conceptually based, the album begins in sugar sweet fashion before taking on a heavier style as its main character, known as Horizon, undergoes a spiritual evolution that leads him towards 16 minutes of pure-prog nirvana known as The Glory Be Suite.
“I hope that people won’t simply listen to my music: I’d like them to experience it,” Abraham says. “I love to tell stories.”
Aside from the artist’s own name and the reference to Michael Row The Boat Ashore, the album is peppered with Biblical references, from Noah’s Ark in Two By Two to Resist The Devil and of course The Glory Be Suite, and yet Abraham firmly denies the suggestion of any religious undercurrent to his music.
“I don’t consider myself religious, and I struggle with that term,” he baulks. “I consider myself very spiritual and I have studied the Bible, but I grew up in a Jewish family. None of my songs have an agenda: each was written because it was what I was thinking at the time.”
AMP are yet to perform live but Abraham hopes that despite their fluid nature he might someday find a way to make it happen. Certainly, there are big plans for the future.
“I have enough music for around four albums,” Abraham reveals. “One of those, to be titled Making Progress, will pursue more of traditional progressive rock sound in the vein of The Glory Be Suite.”
Bring it on!