Originally published August 06, 2010
By Lauren LaRocca
When Brother Eazy Ezekiel and Brother Hezekiah X, now musicians, left their strict Amish lives as teenagers and stepped into what they call the outside world, they were hit with a wonderful splash of music -- rap, psychedelic rock, jazz, blues -- kind of like one of their Amish Outlaws shows. Before that, they'd heard mostly church hymns.
While fans of bands sometimes come to shows in costume, the band says that quite often people come out to their shows with Amish style clothes, especially in Maryland. "There's a possibility I might move to Maryland one day and run for Congress. It's ridiculous how much of a following we have there," he added. He added, many come out with an Amish outfit and bald cap.
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As far as the Amish Outlaws ever bringing their road show back home to Lancaster, Hezekiah said, it's doubtful. "Probably not," he said. "It depends on the situation, but I'd say that's not going to happen. We actually have a big Amish following in Maryland and they come out for us. They're a different type of Amish down there. Like, the guy I met once at a gas station, he had a Back Street Boys kind of beard, so clearly he's able to use the good razors, plus all the Amish girls he was with were smoking hot I mean way too hot. They even had tans and not the tan you would get outdoors. They went to the tanning salon just they're wearing an Amish outfit. Maybe they got some different rules, even the fact that they were at a gas station."
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"Straight Outta Lancaster", the Amish Outlaws, a band that features real ex-Amish community members, have gone from the fields to the stage, even earning themselves the "Top Entertainment Pick" award by New York Magazine in their annual Winter Weddings issue in 2012.
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In an effort to contribute to the cause, The Amish Outlaws offered to perform at the event with their unorthodox but energetic stage act. The band members dressed in traditional Amish clothing and covered a variety of popular songs.
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The group's lead singer, Brother Hezekiah X, belts out songs in a variety of styles with a deep and powerful voice. A highlight of the group's repertoire is a rousing and rollicking rendition of the Dropkick Murphy's Celtic rock hit "I'm Shipping Up To Boston."
The Amish practice a tradition known as "Rumspringa" -- which translates to "running around" -- in which Amish children, at the age of 16, have an opportunity to live free of the strict Amish code of conduct, before deciding if they want to come back and be baptized into the Amish church. A majority of the youths return but some don't; that was a factor in the birth of this band.
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The act is not merely a gimmick. Hezekiah Yoder and three other band members were born into the Old Order Amish community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The band itself was put together in Philadelphia about ten years ago and released original material until they decided to take inspiration from their cultural roots.