Published on June 3rd, 2020 | by Al Geiner0
Q&A With Bill Abernathy
Everyone loves a good story about second-chances, and that’s exactly what Bill Abernathy’s story is all about. The Kansas City, Missouri resident began writing songs in his early teens. He played all through his school years, but then he stopped…Life took over.
Bill went about getting married, building a business career, and raising his children.
After his kids graduated from school and started their careers, Bill picked up the guitar again and began trying to rekindle his love of music.
“Inspiration for my music comes from a variety of the many parts of my life,” Bill says. “Events and experiences of mine, my family, my friends, and sometimes even people I have never met all, contribute to the creativity of my music. I find it interesting and rewarding to let my imagination wander through the memory and spirit of life events and see where it takes me.”
Bill is a pure “lyrics-first” writer…a bit of a storyteller. “I feel the story and lyrics talk to me and tell me what the rest of the song is supposed to sound like,” he says.
His last album, 2017’s “Find A Way” reached #5 on the Roots Music Report Traditional Folk Album chart, and the single, “Goodbye Will Never Come Again” reached #1 on the singles chart.
Bill’s latest collection of songs, the Roots Music Report Americana chart-topping album, “Crossing Willow Creek” is available now. The first single, “Cry Wolf” reached the iTunes Top 100 Rock Songs chart, while hitting the Top 5 on New Music Weekly’s country chart. The next two singles also received national and international charting. Bill was also a December 2018 Billboard Magazine Emerging Artist. He recently toured the mid-west on his “Living The Dream” solo tour.
“Sometimes life is good to you and gives you a second chance. In my youth I walked away from music for a myriad of personal reasons. Now, I’ve now been given a second chance to pursue this thing we love called music, and I am really enjoying the ride!”
What first got you into music?
I was raised in a family that was around music all the time. Whether that be in church, coffee houses, or at concerts. I have always been fascinated by the impact music can have on peoples lives. Sometimes music can send a message pertinent to current events, sometimes it can bring lessons that have been learned from the artists life, and sometimes music can help change your mood. Sometimes you need to think, sometimes reflect and sometimes just laugh. Music has the ability to do all those things and more. I sometimes think music is a bit of magic as it can have impact on you in so many ways and so many areas of your life.
Who inspired you to make music?
I have always been inspired by singer songwriters and their music. I think of many of the greats like James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg, Steven Stills, Jackson Browne, etc. Each of those and so many more found a way to share their thoughts through music. One does not have to agree with all their thoughts, but to hear what they have to say, and understand the manner in which they say it is quite inspiring to me.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
That’s a loaded question. I tell stories. I talk about things that I have experienced, things I have learned, and things that make me want to share my thoughts and ideas. As each story / song has a different message to portray, I try to use different musical genres that I think are the best to get the message of the song across. It really makes it fun as we explore multiple genres to make that happen. Folk, Rock, Blues, Country, Americana are a few of the genre’s folks say we use. Whatever genres are used, the important thing in every song is the story and we try to make the music with that in mind.
What is your creative process like?
I am really an inspiration-based writer meaning that something has to touch me and make me want to explore the concept. I then just start writing to get my ideas on paper. There is no thought of cadence or rhyme, just focused on getting the thoughts down. I then start taking the thoughts and putting them together kind of like a puzzle as well as starting to think of song structure, cadence and rhymes. The last thing I do is work on the music, again picking sounds and genres that accentuate the message of the song. In short, the process is a bit of a mess, but it seems to work for me.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Wow great question. Any of the folks I mentioned earlier would be awesome. I have been really into some more political / societal based tunes lately, so Neil Young would be a fun conversation for sure. He has a very interesting view of many such things.
If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?
Well this might surprise you, but I really am a big fan of the Foo Fighters. To keep it real, I would really like to open for Dave Grohl at one of his solo acoustic shows. His music really hits home with me
What is one message you would give to your fans?
I am fortunate to have some really great fans. They seem to understand that not all artists are the same. Not all are going to be the folks to hear when you want to dance, or completely rock out for example. Though each of those are fun at given times, sometimes it’s good to listen and study what the artist is saying and see if you can relate to it or possibly take something away from it. I am fortunate that my fans really seem to get that. I am lucky that way.
Do you sing in the shower? What songs?
Interesting question. I am a big fan of showers. I find a good long hot shower is a great way to relax and the clear your mind. Do I sing in the shower? I hum in the shower. Many of my melody lines are generated in the shower because I think I relax and get out of my own way. Does that count?
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
I love sports. I always thought it would be really cool to be coach. I’ve done some youth coaching the past and really had a great time. I think that would be an interesting and challenging thing to do.
Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
I’ve been fortunate to play some really cool venues all over the US. My favorite venues are the smaller say 100 people or so listening rooms. I really like being able to see the audience and interact with them. Least favorite? I will not play venues that have televisions. Done. Upcoming shows? I am really embracing the online concerts we are doing during quarantine and have done about a dozen or so to date. It’s weird to not be able to see the audience but the interaction through comments is really pretty fun. I will be doing these all spring and summer as we work though the Covid situation. When things clear up, I will tour again, but I anticipate that being in 2021.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
I really think it’s a great tool. You can stay in really close contact with your fans and interact with them quite easily. I’ve even thrown some new tunes out there just to see what folks think before I go into the studio and record them. It’s great to be able to get that nearly instantaneous feedback. It’s also good to have so many different ways folks can learn more about you through web sites, interviews, and music reviews.
What is your favorite song to perform?
Well I think that depends on the mood I am in. lol. I really like playing my tune Willow Creek as it tells a bit of the story of my music. I have a tune called Find A Way that is very special to me as it is all about the day my dad passed away and I reminisce about him and all the things he taught me. If I am into playing something challenging, I have a tune called Yuppie Blues that give me a chance to dance across the guitar neck and have some fun. Just depends on the mood.
What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
Well that’s a new one. Great Question. Let’s just say I have never been arrested, but there were a few times that record was questioned heavily. There are stories.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
“If you want something bad enough, and your willing to put in the blood sweat tears and toil, you can always find a way to make it happen” My Dad told me that many times and it is something I think of every day. It’s also the motivation behind my tune Find A Way.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
This is probably a bit selfish, but I think there is a large audience that is looking for more than flashy shallow pop music. I would like to see the industry work to focus more on that audience and work with smaller venues that provide a more intimate experience with the artist / fan experience. I think it would work out well in the long run.
What’s next for you?
I have been writing quite a bit during the quarantine. All the events of the day hold quite a bit of inspiration for me. I will take these new tunes into the studio, make a new record, and send it out to see what folks think of it. I expect to tour again in 2021 which should be fun with the new tunes.
How important is the current climate crisis to you and how do you think you could help?
Well I am a bit of a hippie and I believe we need to take care of our planet. I think we have become such a disposable society; focused on convenience, we have lost our way regarding the one thing we can’t afford to mess up, our planet. That said, I also think that Mother Nature is far smarter than us, and with our help she will fix the mess we have created. I think we are starting to do a bit better but have a long long way to go. It’s important to keep our focus, increase awareness and keep getting the word out there so we continue to focus on continuous improvement. If not, we are in serious trouble.Tweet