Uzi Ramirez: Refreshing Tel Avivian Guitarist on the Riseby Joy Bernard | 08.12.16
Tel Avivian musician Uzi Ramirez is one of the local music scene’s most beloved, if hidden, treasures. The immensely talented guitarist’s rich and diverse sound can’t really be pinned down to one category, and as it seems, Ramirez himself isn’t willing to be restrained by any definitions; from nostalgic Americana to an intricate mixture of rhythm, blues, folk and country all the way to soaring rock n roll, the artist has expressed himself over the years through a variety of musical genres, with the unifying thread being his resonant, trademark guitar-playing and familiar low voice.
Uzi Feinerman (Ramirez is his stage name), 37, originally from the seaside, southern tourist town of Eilat, entered the Tel Avivian music scene back in 2003 as one of the founders of the legendary band Boom Pam, whose tunes originated in Balkan, Mediterranean, Greek, rock and surf music. The band was a crowd favorite and garnered the love of European audiences in their performances in festivals across the continent.
During his time with Boom Pam, Ramirez also founded The Ramirez Brothers, an eclectic and colorful drums (Eitan Efrat), trumpet (Sefi Zisling) and guitar (Ramirez himself) trio. The trio have several successful albums under their sleeve, all of which will make you want to get up and dance (including, surprisingly, an album entirely dedicated to Christmas songs).
Ramirez quit Boom Pam in 2009 to officially go solo and a year later came out with his first solo album, Lick My Heart. This 20-track album presented a more buttoned-up version of Ramirez, who surprised fans with some personal and intimate melodies but made sure to shine with his crooning, delicious guitar mastery.
The next solo album to follow was Cheese in My Pocket, which continued Uzi’s foray into the American journey he pursued. In this slightly psychedelic album he was joined by a large group of musicians who donned this oeuvre a fuller and richer sound.
Ramirez’s most recent release, Ice Skates, is an EP that came out in June 2016. While Ice Skates only offers five tracks to revel in, each one is a gem and a full experience in itself. Presenting intricate compositions that sound like the unlikely musical love child The Beatles could have had with country-rock legend JJ Cale, Ice Skates glides smoothly and endearingly and very well may be Ramirez’s best creation to date.
Ice Skates, the first track and the song after which the album was named, is a rebuffed lover’s plea echoed and strengthened by a gentle yet upbeat orchestra.
The closing track, aptly titled Goodbye, is a flowing, seductive individual reflection that culminates in a searing pop-rock crescendo. The lyrics, written by Ramirez, are rather symbolic of the often surreal and remarkable style this musician has developed over time: “The boombox is playing watercolor symphonies/ Welcoming committee, please take away my disease/ I gotta get out but I just can’t find my keys/ And I just lose my mind.”