In 2017, Bill Abernathy's album “Find A Way” reached #5 on the Roots Music Report Traditional Folk Albums chart, spending more than a year on the chart. His single, “Goodbye Will Never Come Again” reached #1 on the Traditional Folk Songs chart. Now, Bill Abernathy’s latest collection of songs, “Crossing Willow Creek” is available. The album is a mix of revamped songs from Bill’s previous release, “Changes,” a couple covers, and a brand new song. First single, “Cry Wolf” is hitting radio airwaves around the globe, charting on the Airplay Today charts, the New Music Weekly charts, and receiving much critical praise.
Bill took some time out from his busy schedule to answer some questions in this EXCLUSIVE interview:
IS: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. With all that a musician has to do these days to get noticed and build a following, how do you find time for a personal life?
BA: Great question. Along with the music side of my life, I also have a corporate career that I really enjoy. I have found it certainly makes it easier to pay the bills.. haha. I think maintaining balance in your life is absolutely critical for success regardless of what you are doing. There seem to be so many distractions that occur daily that can derail your plans. The key for me is being to keep myself well organized. I am a list maker and prioritize all my lists. I believe this is the only way I know of to accomplish all the tasks that I have every day, and still be able to have some free time to enjoy a personal life. Organization, prioritization and discipline are the main elements. Of course, for Crossing Willow Creek, I am working with MTS management, and they are doing a lot of the heavy lifting for me. That is a great help.
IS: What is your favorite part about the music industry and being a musician?
BA: This is an easy question for me. I really enjoy the creative process, whether it’s writing, recording or producing. These processes are really a lot of fun for me, to start with an idea and watch as it matures into something that you can put your name on and be proud of. I think there is a bit of magic involved.
IS: Tell us about your album, "Crossing Willow Creek"
BA: Crossing Willow Creek is really a statement on how everything old can become new again. Many of the songs on the album I have had in my repertoire for many years. Most of these were tunes that historically were purely acoustic songs. We took these acoustic tunes and added additional musical voices to them to give them a new life and feel. This really represents where I am as an artist. I love acoustic work but realize that there are times I need to step out of that comfort zone and explore new sounds and ideas. Willow Creek is one of my first songs that got substantial airplay and attention in the industry. It has always been a purely acoustic tune. The album title Crossing Willow Creek demonstrates my desire to step out of the comfort of acoustic production and stretch myself creatively to a more challenging place. That said, the Willow Creek tune is still an acoustic tune on this project. I need to stretch musically but it’s important to always remember where you came from. The old adage “dance with the one that brought ya” is good advice on many levels and Willow Creek is the one that brought me to where I am today.
IS: Are you involved with any charities or non-profit organizations or causes?
BA: I have historically set on several boards of charities and non-profits and still do today. I think it’s a great way to give back to the community and help support those who may need a bit of a hand up. When it comes to playing live, I don’t really dedicate a lot of time for it. With the recording, and all the work we do to promote the songs, coupled with my full-time corporate job, there is just not so much available time. That said, a large percentage of the live shows I play are for charities and non-profits. I think it is a great use of live music to support good causes and do what we as musicians can to lend a hand. Because I currently play live only a few times a year, we typically draw a good crowd to the shows we do, and that helps support the causes we are supporting. I really enjoy this, and makes the work involved in producing the live shows seem much more worth it.
IS: If you could have seen any artist perform, in their heyday, who would that have been and why?
BA: On Crossing Willow Creek, we covered a Jimmie Spheeris tune named Love’s in Vain. I absolutely love his music, but sadly he was taken from us very early in his career. I did have a chance to see him live a couple of times but would certainly cherish the thought of being able to experience his music live again.
IS: What are you working on next? What do you think your next release will be like?
BA: The next thought is to produce the Crossing Willow Creek and Find A Way projects to vinyl as a double album set. I am sure that we will include the new tunes I have in my pocket as well as some interesting covers. We always put a cover or two on each of our projects. It’s important to play tribute to the music that brought you where you are, and I think it’s a great way to say thank you to the artists that influenced me throughout my life.
IS: We love your "Cry Wolf" lyric video. Any plans for a conceptual music video? If so, please tell us about it.
BA: This question made me laugh a bit. Cry Wolf is a tune I wrote when I was really frustrated with the “news” cycle and the ridiculous way social media is used to propagate miss information. As a science fiction fan, there are so many correlations to Orwell’s 1984 it’s a bit scary. I saw a shirt the other day that said, “I would like to live in a world where 1984 was still fiction”. Maybe we should think about a concept video that would look a bit like the classic 1984 movie. I could play Winston Smith…hmmmm
IS: How do you measure success in the music industry?
BA: This may be a bit different that most. As a song writer, success for me is when something I have written has a positive influence on the folks that hear it. I have been fortunate to have experienced many times in my when career fans have told me they were touched by a song. That could be they laughed, the could relate to the story, or maybe it just made them think about their current situation. That to me is success. I suppose you could call in building your audience one fan at a time. I’m good with that.
IS: Which do you like better, recording or performing live?
BA: I really like both. I enjoy the studio a lot. I like the control, the intimate settings of the studio I use, and the freedom to step away from what you may typically do and improvise. The most fun live shows for me are ones where I can develop a relationship with the audience. I like to look in their eyes as I play to see if they are enjoying the songs and if they are relating to the stories I tell about the songs. That is very important to me and is one of my favorite things.
IS: Thanks again for the interview. Any shout outs you'd like to give, or any advice you'd like to pass along to our readers?
BA: Shout outs to my family and friends as they are great sources of support for me. I really enjoy the team I work with at LA Audio, Enneagram Records, as well as the team at MTS Management. I really enjoy meeting new folks and fans and hear their stories. Remember my little mantra, “If you hear a song that sounds like it was written about you, it may have been”. That happens so many times and makes it all a lot of fun.
And as far as advice goes, if what you are doing isn't making you happy, do something else. I am not saying life is ever the perfect mix of all you ever wanted, but I am saying sticking with anything strictly and only out of obligation to anyone or anything is not a recipe for success. Life is a journey that is not always great, but it is not meant to be misery either. Find your own work, family, art, music, personal life, career balance and take time to enjoy each moment as it comes. Sounds simple, not easy, but it's worth