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, “Crossing Willow Creek” is available now, with first single, “Cry Wolf” hitting radio airwaves around the globe.
“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!”
Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
Bill: I was raised in the suburbs of Kansas City. As fourth child, and the baby of the family, I was about 10 years younger that my siblings. My brother was involved in the music scene in KC and used to have jam sessions at our house with his friends. I used to sneak down and listen. The song “Willow Creek” documents those times of my life. Literally I used to set under a willow tree in our back yard and figure out the songs I heard them play in the jam sessions, and eventually learned many other songs. I played quite a bit when I was young and got some cool opportunities. All through school, I played around the region. I did develop some issues with my vocal chords and needed to take a break from music. That break ended up lasting many years as I got married, started a family and worked hard on my business career. Once the kids were out of school and starting their careers, I picked up my guitar and began to play in earnest again. We recorded my first CD, Changes, which really got me back into music in a big way. We focused that project on primarily acoustic music. The second project, Find a Way, was more produced as we integrated many additional instruments and voicings in the recordings. Once we have completed that project, we were practicing for a live show, and started playing around with the Changes acoustic tunes, and decided to re-record them with more production. The outcome of that work is my Crossing Willow Creek album. I am very pleased with the outcome as we were able to keep the feel of the tunes while making them much more interesting musically without compromising the messages of the songs. It was a very fun project for all involved.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
Bill: The best tip I can give anyone is some advice I heard from one of my kids ball coaches. “Work harder than anyone, first to practice, last to leave. Learn your fundamentals to a point where they just happen naturally. Practice doing things that you may only need once in your career. If you work hard, stay clean, trust your talent, and be respectful you may just find yourself in a situation to get lucky with your career.” I think this is great advice. The harder you work, the better you are, and better you are the “luckier” you get. “If you want something bad enough, and you’re willing to put in the blood, sweat, tears and toil, you can always FIND A WAY”. Great advice for life.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
Bill: Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes thing happen that you are not prepared for. I think the important thing is to project as many of these negatives as possible and prepare how you are going to handle them when they occur. I am a believer in preparation, because if you are fully prepared, then you will be able to handle things smoothly when unexpected things happen. I always think about keeping the simple things simple, so the hard things are just hard, and the impossible things are not as impossible as one may think. That said, having MSU skills, (Make Stuff Up), is critical… haha. And I have been known to give my left had a few dirty looks when he does not performs as expected. LOL
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
Bill: I was playing an outdoor gig in the heat of the day. Big stage, big crowd. About halfway through a song, the right-side mains clipped. I immediately thought I was having a stroke of some sort. Fortunately, the cycled back on very quickly. There were a few “what the hell” moments before they came back on. After the tune we all had a good laugh about that.
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
Bill: We will be focusing on the release of Crossing Willow Creek. That said, as a writer I am always thinking and working on new ideas and new tunes. When I have a good number of new tunes, we will continue the studio and production work. I love working in the studio and will continue that work as long as I can. It’s my favourite place to be. Some guys spend their spare time playing golf or other things, I write songs and work on them in the studio.
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
Bill: I think we all use social media today, and though I think there is some value in it, I believe the best promotion is word of mouth. When you have a good fan base, they are your best promoters. People who are really into music like to talk about it. An example is an artist in Europe I had never heard of. One of my German colleagues gave me their name and now I listen to them regularly. That’s real fan base building.
For this release I am working with MTS promotions to help get the word out. I am a believer of getting the right people and letting them do what they do. I am looking forward to what we can accomplish together.
Exposed Vocals: If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
Bill: For folks that are familiar with my music this will not be a shock. I would really enjoy sitting down and having a discussion with Dan Fogelberg. It would be fascinating for me to actually work with him on a song or a project. I could learn so much on so many levels. To try and understand his process, how he wordsmiths his lyrics, how he marries the lyric and the music would be very special. That would be a great evening for me. Maybe someday we will meet in the “Nexus” and get that opportunity.
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
Bill: Crossing Willow Creek is the new project about to go into full release mode. I am excited about this work, and hope that the listeners will be as well.
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Bill: This is where I may be a bit different that many folks. I have a really cool business career that I enjoy, plus it helps pay the bills and keep many options open for me in music.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in the next year or so?
Bill: We are now pushing the Crossing Willow Creek project. I expect my fans will not only enjoy the album, but also the various promotions that will come along with it. Of course, I will do some live shows promoting the album and those are always fun
Exposed Vocals: Any Shout-outs?
Bill: Of course, my family and friends are a great support team for me. As my dad used to tell me.. “Dance with the one that brought ya”. I will always rely on these support systems to keep me moving forward. I really enjoy working with Lynn Allred and the team at LA Audio in Olathe Kansas. Max Berry of Enneagram records is a constant positive influence on me musically and personally.