Articles By Abby Parks

About Abby Parks

Abby Parks was born with a fierce passion for music that her parents recognized early on, buying her a guitar for her 12th birthday. She began lessons as a teen and turned her attention to classical guitar after hearing the music of noted classical guitarist John Michael Talbot. Parks began singing solo with her guitar in church and then majored in classical guitar at Colorado Christian University in Denver, also studying piano, voice, and music composition. There were many paths she could have taken with the musical knowledge she had gained, but Parks had developed a great affection for songs she’d heard in the folk and songwriting traditions, particularly by artists like Joni Mitchell and Judy Collins. Lyrics that told stories and delved deeper into the human psyche than typical pop songs gave her a desire to take her music in that direction. By the time she had moved to the U.K. with her family in 1995, Parks had enough songs under her belt to begin performing live, including a performance in 2000 at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland. Finally settling in Alabama, Parks released her debut CD Moving On in 2005 and performed throughout the southeast in venues ranging from coffeehouses and churches to theaters, clubs, and festivals. As her songwriting matured, Parks turned her attention to the rich southern heritage she can lay claim to. Stories told to her throughout her life about her family’s background became the source for many of her songs off her latest CD The Homeplace, including the title track “The Homeplace,” “Lambert Road,” and “Wild Dogs.” Recorded at Huntsville’s Sound Cell Studio, The Homeplace was produced with the help of Doug Jansen Smith (Take 6, Brian McKnight, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Phil Collins). The CD features imaginative instrumentation accompanying her unique finger-style guitar playing, creating an evocative atmosphere for Parks to spin reflective narratives in song. Besides being a performing singer/songwriter, Parks is an advocate for the preservation and promotion of folk arts. She has been a member of the Folk Alliance and the Roots Music Association. Her desire with this E-zine is to help promote folk artists and inform others of the evolution of the modern "Folk Renaissance."

From March to May: A Q & A

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Seattle based duo March To May has just released their first EP The Water’s Edge, a continental-sounding folk project that blends the sounds of Celtic harp, Spanish guitar, soft percussion, and haunting strings with the lilting harmonies of the voices of Darren Guyaz and Beth Wesche.  The result is an understated but passionate journey through the halls of musical awakening, essence, and love.  There is fresh

CD Review: Donna Lynn Caskey–Nameless Heart

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Donna Lynn Caskey’s new album Nameless Heart certainly won’t leave her as a nameless entity in the folk world.  Her old time banjo accompaniments are the perfect backdrop for her artfully written lyrics, traditional in nature and uplifting in message.  Track one, confident in its delicacy, seems to be a theme for the album as a whole.  She encourages the listener to, “Take off your watch/Hide all the clocks/Today we’ll tell time by the sun and the sky/Rest you head a while/Close your eyes/May

Interview: Jeff Place, Producer At Smithsonian Folkways

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June 24, 2014 marks the offical release of the latest album from Smithsonian Folkways called Classic African American Songsters.  It is a celebration of the vast variety of repetoire that these “songsters,” or traveling African American musicians of the early part of the 20th century, performed.  Their songs were not only of the folk genre–they also covered tunes in the style of ragtime, country, Tin Pan Alley, pre-blues, blues hybrids, and old-timey stringband.  They were entertainers, and played to audiences in concert

The Passion Play (When All The Slaves Are Free)

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If you have seen “The Passion of the Christ” movie, you may or may not realize that the title “passion” is derived from the Passion Play that originated in Germany in the 17th century.  In the small Bavarian village of Oberammergau in 1633, the bubonic plague hit, as it had many other places after the Thirty Years War.  One in two families there suffered loss of loved ones due to this plague, and in an attempt to stop its killing

Live Interview With Kevin Welch

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Kevin Welch has had a long and prosperous musical career as a Nashville songwriter and touring recording artist.  His songs have been recorded by country greats like Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Tricia Yearwood, The Judds, Roger Miller, Ricky Skaggs, and the Highwaymen, to name just a few.  He was passing through Birmingham, Alabama on his way home to Austin from Nashville where he played an NSAI benefit

Live Interview with Kate Campbell

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I attended a songwriting workshop March 21-23 at the Alabama Folk School at Camp McDowell in Nauvoo, Alabama.  It was taught by seasoned singer-songwriter Kate Campbell of Nashville.  Her storytelling ability has been compared to Southern greats such as Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and William Faulkner, while her recording career as a performing singer-songwriter is iconic in terms of her output and the quality of her songwriting ability.  Her workshop

Inside the Music and the Making of The Gloaming


I have been a devoted fan of Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, the phenomenal fiddle/guitar duo who have pushed the boundaries of traditional Irish music to create a uniquely beautiful sound that is stunningly hypnotic and other-worldly.  I first discovered them in 1998 at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, Scotland where they put on a performance that held captive every open

CD Review: Thomas Hine–Forgive My Future

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Colorado singer/songwriter Thomas Hine’s latest CD Forgive My Future (2013) is a modern folk album with that which is reminiscent of the sixties.  The new film LLewyn Davis comes to mind.  I can picture Hine in a smoky folk club rendering these songs to a captive audience.  The lyrics overall are thought provoking, at times a little hard to follow, but overall insightful.  The recording has a homespun sound to it, but that is not a bad thing.  The production is not overdone.  It’s more a raw project with all kinds of

Enjoying the Stephen Foster Old-Time Music Weekend

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Florida is a state rich in the fostering and preservation of American folk culture, and I was fortunate to attend one of the numerous annual events hosted by the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs, Florida.  Among the events during the year are a Quilt Show in October, a Dulcimer Retreat in November, a Festival of Lights in December, National Stephen Foster Day in January, and the 62nd Annual Florida Folk Festival on Memorial Day weekend.  The center, located on the banks of the Suwanee River,

CD and Live Show Review: We Banjo 3

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I have a special nook in my heart for Celtic folk music, born of my childhood adventures visiting the UK while living in West Germany, and then my actual residence in the UK from 1995-2000.  The annual festival Celtic Connections in Glasgow, loaded with fiercely talented musicians and bands, sealed the deal for me as an avid fan of the genre, and so when I hear of a good band touring in my neck of the woods, I like to take

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