A Southern folk troubadour, master acoustic guitarist, and award-winning composer for film, TV, and video games, it’s not often that a renaissance man like Rod Abernethy comes along. Today, Abernethy is proud to add his new full-length album Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore to his vast catalog of works. Produced by Grammy-nominated producer Neilson Hubbard (Mary Gauthier, Kim Richey, Glen Phillips), Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore is a mixture of guitar virtuosity and world-class songwriting, most of which happened on Abernethy’s last year of touring. The album has received praise from fans and critics alike, including The Wall Street Journal, who complimented his “impressive guitar-picking,” No Depression, and Americana Highways, who said, “What’s instantly likable are the voice and compositions that gel perfectly with originality turns of phrases that create clever appetizing moments. This may be one of the year’s best already. He’s a vivid, expressive artist.” Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore is available today, click here to purchase.
Tonight at 7pm Eastern, Abernethy will perform a special album release show from Asheville’s new multi-versed music space Citizen Vinyl via livestream—for more information and to RSVP, click here.
On lead single “Another Year,” which American Songwriter dubbed, “A message as poignant as it is heartwarming...this idea of unity, so valuable and necessary in these times of polarization and strife, is so beautifully done,” Abernethy tells real-life stories of everyday people, the personal challenges they face, and how we all need help from each other to get through those challenges. “With the passing of both my parents in recent years, I’ve gotten to know the importance of having friends and family around you,” says Abernethy. “To put it simply, on the streets we may look different but alone we all look the same.”
Abernethy’s knack for songcraft spans from finding excitement in the mundane day-to-day to making sense of the heavier bits of life; the latter being apparent in “My Father Was A Quiet Man” and the former in the rollicking “Birds In The Chimney.”
“My Father Was A Quiet Man” dives quite a bit deeper into Abernethy’s personal past. Spurred on by a dream about his old man, “My Father Was A Quiet Man” is a poignant and loving tribute to his father and reminding listeners how much a father can care for his family without using words to tell them. “About two years ago around the holidays, I had a dream that my dad called me on the kitchen phone in my childhood house. It was a wall hanging phone with the long coiled cord. My dad was talking a lot, like a teenager…funny thing was he never really talked that much in real life,” says Abernethy. “We had a great talk on the phone, he asked me how I was doing and how the family was getting along. It was so unlike him, but I’ll never forget the call.” This dream stirred up memories of his father’s voice booming when it was time to sing hymns in church, having the intuition to buy Abernethy his first guitar, and being the strength his family needed when Abernethy’s brother passed away. In Abernethy fashion, his retelling of these memories is a heartfelt tribute to his father, but he also looks inward at himself as a father and towards the future when his son will be a father too—watch the official music video, which features n assortment of touching family photos, via The Bluegrass Situation.
“Birds In The Chimney” is an on-the-nose depiction of the time Abernethy discovered a nest of baby birds above his fireplace. “I looked up the chimney with a flashlight and saw a nest about halfway up. About two weeks later a choir of chirping happening all the sudden, like a birdie rock festival,” Abernethy recalls. “This went on for 2 weeks. Then all the sudden they were gone.” BTRToday commented on the track, “Abernethy’s masterful guitar picking and poetic folk chanting combined with a lively melody captures a wholesome moment when it feels like sweetness is hard to come by. The entire world seems like it’s up in flames, but this moment Abernethy shared with a family of birds captured in song provides us a drop of desperately needed honey.”
The album also features two of Abernethy’s lively, intricate guitar instrumentals like “Over The Fence,” a rollicking six-string instrumental adventure about the family coonhound who jumps the fence and roams the downtown area for hours. With star performances from some of Nashville's finest including Will Kimbrough on guitar, it should be noted that Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore is just as much about musicianship as it is songwriting, and neither take the back seat to the other. Country Standard Time reviewer Jim Hynes noted both, saying, “Such a gifted writer and talented guitarist...his are not only well-crafted songs; they are important, provocative messages that need to be shared.”
When it’s all said and done, Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore ties together all of Abernethy’s talents in a way where no one thing is ever singled out; a perfect dish where the sum of its ingredients is greater than its already delectible parts.
Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore Track Listing:
1. Just Around The Corner
2. It’s Always Something
3. Whiskey & Pie
4. My Father Was A Quiet Man
5. Birds In The Chimney
6. When Tobacco Was King
7. Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore
9. Just Get In The Car
10. Another Year
11. Over The Fence
12. Oxford Town