Rod Abernethy To Release New Album "Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore"

Article Contributed by IVPR | Published on Saturday, October 24, 2020

It’s not often that a single person has both BAFTA and American Songwriter’s Bob Dylan Songwriting Contest awards on their bookshelf at home, but then again it’s not often that an anomaly like Rod Abernethy comes along. Southern folk troubadour, master acoustic guitarist, and award-winning composer for film, TV, and video games, Abernethy is now adding to his vast catalog of works with a brand new full-length album, Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore—available everywhere February 5th, 2021. 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. Yesterday, American Songwriter premiered the album’s first single, “Another Year,” dubbing it, “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.” In “Another Year,” 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 making sense of the heavier bits of life to finding excitement in the mundane day-to-day; the latter being greatly apparent in the rollicking “Birds In The Chimney” and the former in “My Father Was A Quiet Man.” “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…” 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.

“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.

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 delectable 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 

8. Changing 

9. Just Get In The Car 

10. Another Year 

11. Over The Fence 

12. Oxford Town