An interview with chart-topping musician Bill Abernathy

by | Aug 14, 2021

Bill Abernathy is topping the Roots Music Report Americana chart with his last collection of songs, “Crossing Willow Creek”. The release is widely 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. The artist recently toured the mid-west on his “Living The Dream” solo tour. 1 In Music wanted to know more.

1 In Music: Hi Bill and thank you for joining us. How would you say you and your music stand out in the vastness that is the music industry?

Bill Abernathy [BA]: Everyone has a vision of what being a musician is. Typically that vision involves young “starving artists” playing every little venue and bar they possibly can to make ends meet. I have approached music later in my life, which has given me some advantages others may not have. I am retired from a successful corporate career, and focus primarily on writing, recording, and releasing music, not necessarily on playing 7 nights a week to pay the bills. I think that makes me, my music and my touring approach a bit unique in today’s environment. I am not saying either way is right or wrong, but in my case this approach is working out well for me.

1 In Music: What or who shaped your music and who supports you?

I’ve always been fascinated by singer-songwriter music and artists.
I think they create the purest form of music,
telling stories, relaying life lessons and observations through music.

Artists like Dan Fogelberg, Kenny Loggins, Steven Stills, Jackson Browne, John Mayer, John Denver and the like are the folks that really inspired and shaped my music. I am fortunate to have a very supportive family, combined with great circle of friends and fans that keep me inspired and working hard to give them the best music I can.

1 In Music: How did you get from corporate professional to envisionning yourself as a professional musician?

BA: The first time I performed solo with only me and guitar I realized that I wanted to play professionally. Seeing the audience engage with the songs, and enjoy the stories and music, it was a “ah ha” moment for me. From that moment on, I have worked to make my music a full-time reality for me.

1 In Music: What types of music do you enjoy and which feed you?

BA: Wow, great question. I listen to a variety of music styles and genres. It’s important to see what other artists are creating and putting out there. I listen to many other independent artists to see where they are coming from as well as many of the artists mentioned in the previous questions. I also listen to everything from Rock, Blues, jazz, Country, Americana, Hip Hop, Rap and instrumental Classical music. I do tend to listen more to lyrical-based music, but find it interesting and educational to listen to many genres and styles. It’s also fun stretch yourself a bit away from your comfort zone.

1 In Music: Who, in what you listen to, stands out as the most undervalued music artist?

BA: So a bit of a soap box moment. The fact that Dan Fogelberg has not been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a total travesty to me. Clearly he was one of the great songwriters and performers on his era, and should be recognized for the great work he did, and the fantastic music he produced.

1 In Music: How do you prepare for your performances?

BA: Honestly I am a bit of a practice freak. I play several hours a day so I am physically prepared for a show essentially any time. Preparing for the specific audiences is more of a challenge. Understanding the venue, the size, age and expectations of the fans is the most important part of preparation, Many times not all the information needed to deliver based on those parameters is known until the show is underway. Being flexible with your setlists, and adapting to the audience is challenging but the fun part of any show.

1 In Music: What do you do when you don’t do music (creative or otherwise) and that you are passionate about?

BA: I am a bit of sports fan and really enjoy losing myself into the competition. Trying to figure out the various strategies used during a contest is very fun for me. I also really enjoy watching my grandsons compete in their sports. I was blessed to be able to watch my children chase their athletic dreams, and am doing the same with my grandkids. It’s about the best thing a dad and grandpa can do. I love it.

1 In Music: Success to you is…?

BA: When a fan tells me that one of my songs and/or performances has touched them in some way, that is success for me.

To have someone take something away from things I have picked up on along life’s way, is really what it’s all about and why I do what I do.

1 In Music: What do you wish you were told when you started out and that you think would help anyone who starts out?

BA: Be confident in who you are, the gifts you’ve been given and share those with your fans and followers. I think it’s really easy to imitate other successful artists and lose who you are along the way. Remember that the most successful musicians are the ones who learned to do their music in a way that is unique and different than the rest.

Be willing to be different, to be you. That authenticity is what the audiences will see and appreciate.

1 In Music: Any upcoming projects?

BA: I am excited about the tunes on our latest release. “Who Are You Who Am I” is a 4-song EP we are really proud of. It’s fun to see folks enjoying the songs. It contains these tracks:

  • More Than Meets the Eye: A rocker that takes a look at today’s societal and political issues.
  • A Thousand Wild Horses: A beautiful song written by Gary Burr that discusses the emotional baggage we all carry with us through life and how if affects us.
  • The World’s Foremost Authority on Everything: Everyone has that one “special” relative or friend who is convinced they are the world’s foremost authority on everything. This tune is a bit tongue in cheek and I play a Banjo. Who knew?
  • Who Are You Who Am I: A look at who music is to me, what questions and answers she gives me in my life.

Each of these tunes are very different from a genre and lyrical content perspective. We recorded this during Covid lockdown, and have a lot of fun putting them together. Take a listen and let me know what you think. I do expect to support Who Are You Who Am I with some touring as live shows in the next months, and that will certainly be fun. Going forward, I never stop writing so we are heading back into the studio to begin the work on the next project.

1 In Music: Thank you for your answers to this interview. Tell us now: where do we find you and your music?

BA: Here are the links to my primary social media platforms. Check us out, follow our pages to stay up to date on what we have going on and what is coming next.

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