Rod Abernethy is a unique blend of an authentic southern folk troubadour, master acoustic guitarist and award winning composer for film, TV and video games. Rod's new album Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore is produced by Grammy nominated producer Neilson Hubbard (Mary Gauthier, Kim Richey, Glen Phillips) with star performances from some of Nashville's finest including Will Kimbrough on guitar.
The album includes a collection of very personal songs that Rod penned while on the road last year. The title song “Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore” was written over a year ago and since the pandemic hit last March, the song has taken on a whole new meaning. In "Another Year", Rod 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. Sometimes a challenge turns into a blessing as with Rod’s song from the lighter side of life with his “Birds In The Chimney”. It’s a tale about chimney swifts that hi-jack Rod’s chimney and party like it’s Woodstock. With such a happy ruckus they eventually turn Rod’s frown into a smile and leave what was once a lonely house into a happy home again. Rod’s song “My Father Was A Quiet Man” is a poignant and loving tribute to his father and reminds us how much a father can care for his family without using words to tell them. The album also features two of Rod’s cool and frenetic guitar instrumentals like “Over The Fence”, a rollicking 6-string instrumental adventure about the family coonhound who jumps the fence and roams the downtown area for hours.
Rod is the 2019 Winner of American Songwriter's Bob Dylan Song Contest. His last album The Man I'm Supposed To Be reached the top 10 in 2018 on the Folk DJ Chart and he's performed as a featured artist at folk conferences and clubs nationwide including Folk Stage in Chicago and Club Passim in Cambridge, MA. His songs and instrumentals revolve around family, friends and places across his home state of North Carolina and the Deep South and evoke styles of his favorite guitar players like Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges and Tommy Emmanuel. Rod collaborated on The Man I’m Supposed To Be with legendary producer Don Dixon (REM, Marti Jones, The Smithereens, Marshall Crenshaw) recording the basic tracks at Buddha View Studios in Charlotte, NC. All tracks were mixed by Rod at 1101 Studios in Raleigh, NC and produced by Rod, Dixon and Kari Estrin. Star performances include John Teer of Chatham County Line on mandolin, Joe Newberry on banjo, Caitlin Cary and Susan Cattaneo providing background vocals, and Pattie Kinlaw Hopkins of Hank, Pattie and The Current on fiddle.
Rod has been a major force in the North Carolina music scene for decades, having played in North Carolina 80’s bands Arrogance and Glass Moon and recorded albums for major labels Warner Bros, MCA and Elektra Records. As a composer, he has scored and produced music for over 80 video games including the Electronic Art's blockbuster hit "Dead Space" which won a BAFTA Award in 2009 for Best Original Score and Tolkien's "The Hobbit" for Vivendi Universal which won Video Game Soundtrack Of The Year in 2003. Rod is also an adjunct professor of music composition at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, NC and supported an active touring schedule until the recent Covid-19 quarantines.
Quotes & Press
"Rod Abernethy wrote his new album's title track over a year ago when all of our views of "not normal anymore" were, in retrospect, hilariously naive. Armed with what he didn't know at the time was the most appropriate album title of 2020" Chris Griffy - No Depression Magazine
"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." Eleana Childers - BTRtoday
"The characters that Rod Abernethy crafted for Normal Isn't Normal Anymore are astonishlngly real and well rounded. Whether it's Another Year or It's Always Something, the listener feels part of the story in ways that remind the audience of staples like Darkness on The Edge of Town from Bruce Springsteen or Dolly Parton's Jolene" Jaime Rodriguez - JRodconcerts/The Podcast
"When Rod begins to sing, his heart also follows - he has an amazing skill set s singer-songwriter and guitarist but also a truth in hi s deliverance that can appeal to every person" Josh Belcher - Josh Belcher Uncharted Podcast
"He opened our eyese and our hearts to new concepts and shone light on old feelings, now renewed. Listen to his new album and he will surely impart the same wisdom, emotion, and wit onto you. P.S.-he plays a mean 12-string!!" Teddy Cole-The Green Room/Scenes Media
"Normal Isn't Normal Anymore proves that an abnormally good singer and guitarist can do just about anything" Rob Dickens - Looking Through The Lens
"Abernethy turned the relatively obscure early Dylan song (Oxford Town) about racial injustice into a tour-de-force, complete with a focused vocal delivery, tight and percussive rhythm, fiery guitar licks and solid harmonica playing." American Songwriter Magazine
"There were moments within the two-hour window of Abernethy’s performance that I found myself utterly transfixed by his guitar-playing abilities; being able to watch a skilled musician up-close felt exhilarating and magical, like observing a rare spectacle that only a few lucky individuals get to witness. The heartfelt nature of his lyrics, combined with Abernethy’s soulful voice and clever storytelling style, made for a truly authentic and captivating show. Audience members were quick to cheer him on for one last song after the second set concluded, which speaks to the level of interest that had taken hold in the room." Allison Hastings - The North Reading Transcript - August 2019
The Winston Salem Journal feature- "Rod Abernethy's winding musical career leads back to folk music and an acoustic guitar" by Lisa O'Donnell
"Even with a decades-long career behind him as a skilled guitarist, composer, film-scorer, and general mainstay on the North Carolina folk music scene, Rod Abernethy's 2018 double-album The Man I'm Supposed To Be was a bit of a shock. The 19-song collection was a tour through dazzling acoustic playing, singer/songwriter intimacy, and passionate vocals, a sort of how-to for anyone looking to excel at being a folk musician. But Abernethy also stepped outside of the straight-ahead folk tradition into vintage pop (a gorgeous instrumental version of the 1960s nugget "Walk Away Renee"), Leo Kottke-style, string-bending ("Trick Or Treat"), and more. Perhaps it's an exaggeration to call The Man I'm Supposed To Be the summary of a life spent making music, or maybe it's a mistake to think of it as autobiography through song. But it sure as hell feels like a major statement, delivered through sparkling acoustic arrangements and rugged vocals." Vincent Harris- The Charleston City Paper - April 2019
"Rod Abernethy's album The Man I'm Supposed To Be is a tour de force for this mulit-talented singer/artist." MAVERICK - The Leading Independent Country Music Magazine - July/August 2018
"We're somewhat of a new live music series in Wake Forest and we're slowly building awareness and getting some good crowds for "marque artists". We were overwhelmed with the turnout for Rod's show. Complete sell out, which is very rare for such a young series. The crowd was enthralled from the beginning to the end, soaking up every word of Rod's stories and songs. They got every penny out of what they paid." Mike Allen - The Wake Forest Listening Room, Wake Forest, NC
"Rod put on an awesome set for us. He’s a true artist on stage and a great guy to work with. Several patrons came up to me at the break to tell me how much they enjoyed his performance. He’s the real deal." David E. Sardinha - Six String Presents - The Cary Theater, Cary, NC
"If you are a house concert host wondering about who should be next on your wish list, it's Rod Abernethy. Rod delivers a show that is pure listening joy. Master guitar playing chops coupled with warm, gravelly vocals and gritty storytelling made for an experience our audience is still thanking us for. Don't miss an opportunity to have him for one of your shows." Joanne Martin - Camelback Concerts, Rochester, MN
"Of course, it helps that Rod Abernethy is so darned good, a true troubadour who lays his life out in pure songwriting and some of the best acoustic guitar I have heard." Derek Maul - Light, Grace, Invitation and Promise
"A compelling songwriter, storyteller and guitarist, Rod Abernethy is a welcome addition to any acoustic music series. Commanding a relaxed and confident stage manner, he mixes his well-crafted original songs with those by Dylan, Tom Waits, Loudon Wainwright and others. He’s a strong six- & twelve-string guitar player and a pleasure to work with." Geoff Bartley - The Cantab Lounge, Cambridge MA
"Rod performed at my venue in Richmond, VA. He put on a great show. We had a lot of people in the audience that took a chance on the evening and they were so glad they made the decision to come and hear Rod. He put on a great show for my audience. He was great to work with, a true professional." Lisa Harrison, owner/booking agent - The Tin Pan, Richmond VA
"Imagine what would happen if you musically crossed the iconic guitar chops of Leo Kottke and John Fahey with the prophetic and immensely appealing songs of Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. Rod fits that bill. While consistently putting his very unique artistry out there, one can hear distinct echoes of these truly significant artistic forces. To my ears, Rod joins that group in very rare air, all of whom have kept meaning in melodies and a kind of prescient skill in lyrics. If you have a chance to see and hear Rod Abernethy live, don't miss it." Bob Hinkle, owner/manager - The White Horse, Black Mountain NC
"Rod Abernethy, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, was a guest on my radio show on WOMR in Provincetown this summer, and was truly amazing! Rod went back to his acoustic roots which were a perfect fit for the show, "Roots n' Offshoots." His guitar playing on both 6 and 12 String had such a rich quality, and his vocals demonstrated his inner strength an passion." Carol Courneen, WOMR Provincetown MA
"Rod is a true student of music, gracefully performing songs with a sincere humbleness that one can't help but relate to. His mastery of the 6 and 12 string guitars was a real treat to watch, and we look forward to his next performance in the hall!" Bill Heath, owner/operator - Muddy Creek Music Hall,
Winston Salem, NC
"Rod Abernethy has truly mastered the art of storytelling. At first he charms you with sentimental stories and clever lyrics that tug at your heart then he mesmerizes you with his spellbinding guitar playing. It’s always a thrill to see Rod perform." Gigi Thigpen - Jazz Entertainment Agency, Raleigh, NC