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Honest Abe

Abe Partridge, Alabama's acclaimed songwriter and folk artist, paints the UK whatever colors he wants

by Ancient Champion, for outsideleft.com
Personally,  I have found much more acceptance as an artist than ever as a preacher. Of course, my message as a preacher was not easy to endure, much less accept.
O U T S I D E L E F T
stay i n d e p e n d e n t
Personally,  I have found much more acceptance as an artist than ever as a preacher. Of course, my message as a preacher was not easy to endure, much less accept.

Honest Abe

Abe Partridge, Alabama's acclaimed songwriter and folk artist, paints the UK whatever colors he wants

by Ancient Champion, for outsideleft.com

Native of the Southern state of Alabama, Abe Partridge is an award winning unparalleled voice in American Roots music. The voice, it’s the first thing you’ll notice for sure. His first LP, 2017’s Cotton Fields and Blood for Days is a disarmingly audacious personal travelogue through a psyche borne aloft by love, and bludgeoned back down by maybe, missteps more unusual than most make in their youth. There’s the simply beautiful guitar and fiddle turn of ‘Turn The Volume Down’ and the wild eyed blues tropes ‘Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down.’ And plenty of places in between. Prison Tattoo mightn't've been out of play among Nick Cave's Murder Ballads. Plenty have referenced Townes Van Zandt already. Abe’s dive into his remarkable backstory immerses the listener immediately in its cinemascopic scale and then there you look, they’re your very own white knuckles hanging onto the cinema seat by its threads.

By 22 he'd been through four bible colleges, by 25 he had his own church in the Appalachian mountains, by 27 he was back in Mobile, Alabama, the only welcome left for him he says. This was followed by a time signing on for Operation Enduring Freedom. I know! I am beginning to look about an wonder whether I've ever lived at all...

Abe is currently touring the UK, with dates in Ireland too, with David Ford, and along the way, we spoke with him after a show in Haverford West in Pembrokeshire, where I recently bought a coat so splendid from an Aladdin’s cave of a thriftstore, I have been told I am that there are only very certain sets of circumtances in which I can wear it. Mainly, when I am going out alone.

Here’s what Abe had to say...

Outsideleft: Because of your sometimes buzzsaw vocal style and your folk art forays... You have me thinking of Clyde Jones! Do you know him/his work? I was taken to his house once while in the Carolina’s... He's the consummate outsider artist...
Abe Partridge:
I am not aware of his work. I will be after this interview though.

OL: I guess there's a very American thing - because you are a country, a continent, the regions are so big, so there can be very regional things going on and they can be really really big at the same time... Asre you sort of regional in the US or national phenom yet?
Abe Partridge:
I am definitely regional at the moment. I tour the southeast US regularly, from Texas to Florida and up through the Appalachians. I only started touring about 3 years ago, so I am pretty satisfied with the way my career has grown thus far.

OL: Is this your first trip to Europe? Now you're here are you playing throughout Europe? Just the UK?
Abe Partridge:
This is my second tour in Europe. I did a 2 week tour of Holland and Belgium last November, bit this is my first trip to the UK.

OL: I've really enjoyed your instant maybe unfiltered observations... Portsmouth, Exeter, bad bedbugs... I didn't know we had them here. Man, I travel with a tent...  
Abe Partridge:
I had the terrible misfortune of sleeping in a bed bug ridden bed my first night here. I guess it will be the thorn in my side to keep me grounded while I am here.

OL: You've parachuted into some Brexit craziness. Like the entire country got delirious got a fever not really evidence based. What do you make of all of that?  
Abe Partridge:
I come from a delirious country as well. I am not schooled enough in European politics to have an opinion on Brexit, but I never trust politicians, especially the ones that are the most polarizing. I do find it amusing that your current leader has the same ridiculous hair that Trump has... also this right wing guy in Holland... Wilders?? or something. These right wingers and the crazy hair... it's a bit comical.

OL: Are you able pour your impressions of this place into your art while you are here? Do you come with a guitar and a bunch of ply and roofing tar, or just the guitar...
Abe Partridge:
I have scribbled on paper a few times, however I find it incredibly difficult to create while on the road. My mind is always on other things like travel and taking in the sites.

OL:  You know you've spoken about your past as a preacher, and that certain type of bible punching preaching, leaving it all there at the pulpit on a sunday morning, that education completely informs your live work... Do you see parallels between what you put into your arts and performances now and then... And what does that say about how we laud and respect preachers and in another way decry artists...
Abe Partridge:
Personally,  I have found much more acceptance as an artist than ever as a preacher. Of course, my message as a preacher was not easy to endure, much less accept. I was a proponent of a very strict, hard-line Baptist faith.

Now, though I no longer hold these particular views, I was without question molded by them. I am a preacher still. I am a man of faith still. I am afraid I always will be. I just have a new message. 

Just scream like your hearts on fire
And beat a guitar

OL: Can you see yourself writing something other than songs? Another string in your bow? I've always been enamoured by the writer Donald Ray Pollock (have you read Knockemstiff?) and his characters and their lives... You are full of stories, but what's that like... The not telling. What happens when you don't talk and you don't tell?
Abe Partridge:
I have been quietly writing a short story. I don't know that I will ever try to publish it. Songs and art have provided an outlet for me to cope with the world through storytelling. Thus far, this has been enough. 

As far as "not telling", I don't know what that is like, but I think it would be very dangerous. 

OL: I think you're up there with the current American greats of lyrics (i'll rephrase this I think you know what I mean) people like Craig Finn... Do you recognize contemporaries...
Abe Partridge:
Yes, of course. There are a number of current lyricists I look up to... John Moreland, Darrin Bradbury, John R. Miller, J.W. Teller and many more...

OL: JPEGMAFIA, he's a military veteran, great writer, outsider artist I think and brilliant... Somehow I think it feels like his experience informs a sort of fuck you attitude... I wouldn't ask you to directly talk about your Air Force days but that maybe shapes what you do, right... And there musicians you'd like to work with?
Abe Partridge:
Yes, my military service also has left a huge mark upon me. There is a certain kind of despair that I doubt you could know without being a part of that cruel system.

OL: We have a psychiatrist friend, and he worked some tough cases and I wondered how he didn't take his work home. He's trained not to I guess. But your performances it seems are so intense, are you able to saunter from the stage and switch off. I am not suggesting, because it doesn't seem like a performance... Your music is imbued with your whole life... How do you stop.
Abe Partridge:
No. I don't turn off. I try to deliver my songs from same depths that they were created in. It is not easy, and sometimes I have to "call it in", but I try to put my whole being into every performance. 

OL: You're working on a new LP, can you talk about that yet?
Abe Partridge:
I have a new record basically ready to be released. I just do not have the industry support in place yet. I want my next record to make a level a larger footprint than the last one. I am trying to figure out how to release it that will create the biggest impact. It is pointless to release a record that no one hears...

Abe profiled at The Listening Room, Mobile, Alabama

Abe's UK Tour with David Ford
Wed, Oct 9
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Fleece, Bristol, England

Thu, Oct 10
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Bullingdon Arms, Oxford, England

Fri, Oct 11
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Bush Hall, London, England

Sat, Oct 12
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Unitarian Church, Cambridge, England

Sun, Oct 13
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Bodega Social, Nottingham, England

Tue, Oct 15
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Band On The Wall, Manchester, England

Wed, Oct 16
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Cluny, Newcastle, England

Thu, Oct 17
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, England

Fri, Oct 18
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Blue Arrow, Glasgow, Scotland

Sun, Oct 20
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Graystones, Sheffield, England

Mon, Oct 21
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Brudenell, Leeds, England

Tue, Oct 22
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Trades Club, Hebden Bridge, England

Wed, Oct 23
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Hare and Hounds, Birmingham, England

Sat, Oct 26
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Whelan's, Dublin, Ireland

Sun, Oct 27
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Empire Music Hall, Belfast, Ireland

Thu, Oct 31 @ 7:00PM
Abe Partridge in support of David Ford
Ropetakle, Shoreham-By-Sea, England
 


Abe's website
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Ancient Champion

Ancient Champion only ever communicates with us online so, so much we don't know. Proud Citizen of Nowhere is the response when we ask where you from? We do know the Ancient Champion is releasing a new single each month of 2019. Instrumental music characterised as easy listening for difficult times. And a collection of extremely short stories, Six Stories About Motoring Nowhere as part of the SideCartel's Sextet series. More info at AncientChampion.com

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