Bill Abernathy’s Who Are You, Who Am I? EP

Bill Abernathy’s trip from budding young musician into family and stable career and then back into music again isn’t unheard of. If you are of a certain age, perhaps over thirty, you’ve certainly heard of individuals who reconnected with youthful passions once the smoke lifted from other parts of their lives and they had time for it. Time and the mental space, of course. It is hard to be a great family man and great songwriter/musician at the same time; the incompatible demands of each are in constant war. Abernathy has proven, once again, over the course of three song collections that such moves, however familiar, touch something in many of us and speaks to how love endures.

It is love driving the composition, playing, and recording of this EP’s four songs. Abernathy’s Who Are You, Who Am I? begins with the song “More than Meets the Eye”, a surprisingly molten and varied blast of outright rock that immediately gets listener’s attention. The EP production renders the blues rock guitar sound ring with authentic grittiness and the piercing lead work draws blood throughout the track. Abernathy shows himself quite able to tackle a rock vocal without coming up sounding weak and ineffectual.

His writing is sharp and the arguably strongest part of his formidable presentation. Abernathy’s imagery and storytelling skills alike are well-honed and never risk self-indulgence, but he also demonstrates a sharp ear for percussive language that compliments the music. “A Thousand Wild Horses” could scarcely be more musically different, singer/songwriter folk as opposed to potent hard rock, but they share the same lyrical aesthetic. It is one of Abernathy’s best vocal performances, without question, and its success so far as a single release shouldn’t surprise seasoned listeners.

“The World’s Foremost Authority On Everything” is relatively light-hearted fare, but it’s some sleight of hand, actually. Crouched inside the sprightly tempo and smirking lyrics, however, is a devastating rebuke of the sort of know-it-all’s who are insufferable company within ten minutes or less. The playing, despite its stripped down approach, is precise and percolating with attitude. The EP’s title song, however, is a much different matter.

“Who Are You, Who Am I?” takes on eternally human subject matter without ever weighing it down with unwieldy artistic aims. The plain-spoken language of Abernathy’s songwriting has unlikely poetic power shining through during each of the EP’s four songs and the reflective interplay between lyrics and music is especially effective during this song. The musicianship is, once more, first rate and his vocals bring the song to life.

Let’s hope Bill Abernathy turns his attentions towards a full length album in the near future. His talents warrant an extended release and are more than capable of retaining listener’s attention. It’s a testament to his ongoing love for creating and entertaining that Abernathy was able to return to music after so long away and not only pick up where he left off; he comes across as a singer/songwriter who has never stopped making music. Something about this release suggests he will never stop again.

Michael Rand

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