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."

Experiencing a Celtic Music Jam

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The last Sunday of the month there is a Celtic Music Jam Session at the Black Market Bar and Grill at 5 Points in Birmingham, AL.  Its a great way to expose yourself free-of-charge to popular Irish tunes played on flute, penny whistle, and fiddle, accompanied by instruments like guitar, a Celtic drum called a bodhran, or in my case, a Celtic mandolin.  But there is room to be more than an audience member.  If you have played Irish music on one of the listed instruments or have a desire to

CD Review: Jefferson Ross–Isles of Hope

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You will be taken on a journey through the rural and suburban Deep South in Jefferson Ross’s latest album Isles of Hopean acoustic collection of songs featuring  tales of, “murderers, shoplifters, car thieves, hypochondriacs, a voodoo witch doctor, a legendary blind blues singer, winos, a dustbowl farmer, Noah, a pothead Tupperware selling mom and a pair of Siamese twins,” as Ross puts it in his notes on the making of the album.  His vocal style and guitar playing are reminiscent of Delta blues, but his lyrics have a conversational quality that invites the listener to kick

An Interview With Linda McRae

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Canadian folk artist Linda McRae, whose music career spans 25 years, is not only fresh off of a tour of the Yukon, but is enjoying the massive success of her latest solo album  Rough Edges, Ragged Hearts, which procured her a coveted nomination for Album of the Year from the Canadian Folk Music Awards.   Besides her four solo albums, Linda’s music has been included on twenty-seven other albums, either as a guest artist, or as a

CD Review: Joy Kills Sorrow—Wide Awake

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Boston-based folk group Joy Kills Sorrow’s newest EP Wide Awake promises just what its title states.  It awakens yours senses, your capability to dream though music, and keeps you awake till the last drone of the bass fades.  The driving rhythms conjure travel in my mind.  From the first electrified chords of mandolin on track one, an energetic piece titled “Was It You,” I find myself transported to the passenger car of an old train, racing down the tracks as Emma Beaton’s flawless voice soars above the rumble, “Wide awake and

John Henry: Hero of American Folklore

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One of the most colorful characters in American folklore is the legendary John Henry.  Whether he was a true historical figure or a fictitious hero carved into the minds of common Americans by oral tradition, his story has given inspiration to generations.  Geoff Edgers said in his Analysis of John Henry Music, “John Henry, as ultimate working-class hero, has been embraced by disparate groups:  black prisoners,

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