Bio

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 Overall Grand Prize Winner of the 2021 International Acoustic Music Awards and 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 

“Impressive guitar-picking is an attraction in itself, and Mr. Abernethy proves an adept, vocal interpreter with his takes on John Mayer’s “Changing” and Bob Dylan’s “Oxford Town.” The title song was apparently written just before the pandemic hit, but certainly applies today...it could be an anthem.” – The Wall Street Journal

“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.”  – American Songwriter on “Another Year” 

"Nothing may be normal in 2021, but Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore offsets Abernethy’s doom and gloom with true joy."  – No Depression

“ Revealing autobiographical tales and more – Acoustic Guitar Magazine

"Original songs that reflect some of the more affirmative and encouraging aspects of contemporary life. His guitar playing evokes comparisons to such luminaries as Leo Kottke, John Fahey, and Tommy Emmanuel."  – PopMatters

“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.” - BTRToday on “Birds In The Chimney” 

“Such a gifted writer and talented guitarist...his are not only well-crafted songs; they are important, provocative messages that need to be shared.”  – Country Standard Time

“What’s instantly likable is the voice and compositions that gel perfectly with originality turns of phrases that create clever appetizing moments. The majority of the songs are carefully rendered, written and showcased. Almost no inclination toward lyrical cliches. I can’t consider Rod a folk singer because he doesn’t pigeon-hole his material. This may be one of the year’s best already. He’s a vivid, expressive artist.”   – Americana Highways

"Particularly well-crafted with strong melodies. The instrumental sections of several songs here really show off Abernethy’s skill at summoning a mood or feeling. The lyrics are clear, direct, simple but elegant. The work of an accomplished and mature musician storyteller, Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore is a musically exceptional bit of folk music."   Lyric Magazine

"Masterfully played and with skilled wordsmanship, it deserves to be part of your new normal."  – Fatea 

“Every couple of years it seems like I come across a record that’s filled with all kinds of little audio treasures. Sweet little instrumental licks, well told stories, an admirable turn of lyrical phrase, subtle references to previous artists or songs–something new pops up every time I hear the album. Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore is the latest one of those to find me.”  – Twangville

 “He does such an amazing job of bringing true feelings and emotions to life and makes it sound flawless.”  That Music Mag

“Clarion vocals, masterly guitar playing...the complete creative and artistic package. Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore proves that an abnormally good singer and guitarist can do just about anything.”  – Listening Through The Lens

"The characters that Rod Abernethy crafted for Normal Isn't Normal Anymore album are astonishingly 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.  Jamie Rodriguez - Jrodconcerts: The Podcast - December 2020

"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."  Elena Childers - BTRtoday - December 2020

"When Rod begins to sing, his heart also follows. Whether it's one of his own songs or a rendition of someone else’s, Rod Abernethy has a way of capturing the song the way it was intended. Not to mention he can play a guitar just like a-ringin' a bell. I personally call him the “Everyman’s Mark Knopfler” because he has an amazing skill set as singer songwriter and guitarist but also a truth in his deliverance that can appeal to every person."   Josh Belcher - Josh Belcher Uncharted Podcast - November 2020

"During my short time with Rod, I felt like we went on a journey together - he the "learned" and I the "learning". He opened our eyes 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 - November 2020

"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

"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

"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