common / Crossroads Weekend

The Weber Brothers new “WE” CD rocks

Kate Evans

The full Weber Brothers band is seen in this photo from their new “WE” CD of original songs.  Pictured from left to right are Shai “Cookie” Peer, Ryan Weber, Rico Browne, Marcus Browne and Sam Weber.The full Weber Brothers band is seen in this photo from their new “WE” CD of original songs. Pictured from left to right are Shai “Cookie” Peer, Ryan Weber, Rico Browne, Marcus Browne and Sam Weber.Local music favorites The Weber Brothers have released their new “WE” CD of original music that showcases their exuberant high-energy blend of rock and roll, blues, country, jazz and swing. Their CD release tour began with an April 12 performance at the Troubadour Lounge east of Berkeley Springs.

The Weber Brothers have toured the United States and Canada for over a decade and have eight other CDs of original songs.

Brothers Ryan and Sam Weber, lead singers and musicians, fine-tuned their musical skills under the wings of rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins and became full-fledged members of his band “The Hawks,” joining the ranks of Band members Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm and Rick Danko and guitarist Roy Buchanan as Hawks’ band musicians.

“WE” CD

With powerhouse lead vocals, exquisite harmonies, smoking lead guitar and keyboards and driving bass and drums, the Weber Brothers’ original songs are rich in diversity and show their firm foundation in the classic rock and roll sounds of the 50s, 60s and 70s and all genres.

The WE” recording has bluesy rockers like “Long Days Done,” “Yes You Are Mine” and “I Don’t Need a Gun,” inspiring mellow rock like “Glad To See You” and “Wait For Night,” a 50’s-style slow-dance tune “Early or Late” and haunting acoustic ballads such as “Before We Arrive,” “Thanks to You” and “The World is Fast Asleep.”

Bassist Ryan Weber said something magical happened in the studio when they recorded “Before We Arrive,” which was also captured on their video of the song. It’s his favorite tune on the CD. He also said that “Long Days Done” really gets to him too and that “I Don’t Need A Gun” may be their most rocking tune.

The Weber Brothers band is originally from Westminster, Maryland and has home bases in Ontario, Maryland and Berkeley Springs when they’re not living out of their van, Weber said.Bassist Ryan Weber and guitarist Sam Weber from the Weber Brothers are pictured in this close-up of the band.Bassist Ryan Weber and guitarist Sam Weber from the Weber Brothers are pictured in this close-up of the band.

Their story

From meeting Hawkins to playing on stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Chuck Berry at his tribute, the Weber Brothers have had a phenomenal music ride.

The Weber Brothers started playing music when they were really young and came from a musical family, said Weber. Their dad—retiring Widmyer Elementary Principal Rick Weber—played guitar and wrote songs and both their mom and dad love music.

His brother Sam Weber got a guitar when he was around eight or nine years old. Ryan Weber said he wanted to be a singer like Axel Rose of Guns N’ Roses. They both wrote songs before they ever played any instruments.

The brothers put together a band, but couldn’t find a bass player, so Ryan learned electric bass. The brothers started playing the clubs around Baltimore. Weber later began playing upright bass when they took to busking across America. Busking is the Canadian word for street performing.

Meeting Hawkins

Weber said he and his brother Sam watched Hawkins in Martin Scorsese’s “Last Waltz” and idolized him. They looked him up online and sent him an email and demo of their music. They hoped to meet him and to join his band. They received an invitation to stay on Hawkins’ farm and attend his legendary 90 Day Rock and Roll Boot Camp.

At boot camp, they practiced music and sang three to four hours a day seven days a week, Weber said. They also had farm chores to do. Sometimes Hawkins would come out and listen and say, “Nope-that’s not it. 3,000 more times.” So they’d keep practicing.

They started performing nearby in Peterborough, Ontario three to four nights a week and moved there. Then it became five to six days a week of gigs. Then Hawkins called a few months later to say he had some performances and that he wanted them to play in his band “The Hawks.”

On Weber’s 21st birthday he had his first gig with Hawkins—a memorable birthday night. They’ve played every Hawkins’ performance since. Hawkins is around 78 years old and only does several big gigs a year, Weber said. It still blows his mind how it all came together.

“The stars have to be in line for something like this to happen,” Weber said.

Band members

Ryan Weber plays mainly bass-upright and electric-along with some piano, guitar and drums. Sam Weber plays mainly electric and acoustic guitar and other stringed instruments like banjo and mandolin. He also plays a bit of trumpet.

Multi-instrumentalist Rico Browne fills in on piano, keyboards, guitar, accordion and bass—whatever is needed. Marcus Browne is their drummer. Both sing harmonies.

Keyboardist Shai “Cookie” Peer has been with the band since right after boot camp. He’s no longer touring with them, but is still very much a part of the band, Weber said.

Biggest influences

Their biggest musical influences were Ronnie “The Hawk” Hawkins, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Band, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Marvin Gaye and all the Motown music, Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf for blues, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Bill Monroe for country—“basically anyone good,” Weber said.

Weber described their music as uplifting and said there are so many different styles and genres that make up their music.

“Our main job is to put it all together and create something that people can relate to and rise up from,” he said.

Weber and his brother write their songs together, with one coming up with the idea and both bringing it all together.

They play mostly all original music at their live performances and occasionally throw in a few cover songs that they really love.

What sets them apart is their foundation in real rock and roll, he said. Weber listens to music from the 1950s and 1960s more than modern music.

To really learn to play it and do it right you have to go back and study rock and roll in its earliest time, when it was really new, immerse yourself in the feeling of it and build on it, he said.

“We learned from the master,” Weber said of Hawkins.

Weber said he’d really like to see more musicians go back to the roots of rock and roll and really get a feel for the essence of what makes a three-chord song work and then build from that foundation.

Hawkins always told them to “practice and play.” A boxer will get knocked out if he goes into the ring without training and practice. It’s true of any profession, he noted.

“It’s really simple, but people don’t do it,” Weber said.

Favorite performance

His favorite performances have been playing to 80,000 people at the Havelock Jamboree in Ontario, a huge country festival that featured country music star Travis Tritt.

He also enjoyed playing the Capitol Theater in Cleveland for the Rock and Roll Music Hall of FameChuck Berry tribute and the Massey Hall in Toronto, a legendary spot where Ray Charles and Bob Marley have performed.

Weber said some of the nights they’ve played at the Troubadour Lounge were just as amazing as those big gigs.

He said they’ve been playing music on the road for over 13 years. Sometimes the traveling gets tiresome but when they have a great night of performing with a great crowd, it makes it all worthwhile.

“The people of Berkeley Springs and Morgan County have always shown us that and we recognize it and appreciate it every time,” Weber said.

The cover of the new Weber Brothers CD “WE.”The cover of the new Weber Brothers CD “WE.”Where to get the new CD

Their new CD “WE” is available at BlackCat Music Shop in Berkeley Springs and is also available on iTunes.

The Weber Brothers will be performing again at the Morgan Arts Council’s Summer Concert Series on Saturday, August 16. It’s a don’t miss performance— they’re destined for great things.

To hold you until the summer concert, check out these videos of the Weber Brothers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rEge0jOe1Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4fy1MHGfZQ

Note the local scenes and the local folks in this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHQU2QHE1gs


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