“Easy like Sunday morning” I thank Lionel Richie and the Commodores for giving us that song in 1977. After a wonderful evening out at The Listening Room on Saturday night, I was ready for an easy morning and I got that song stuck in my head. I want to tell you about last night when I went to Abe Partridge’s Art Display and sale and his musical performance.
It was Saturday night and I was sitting at a table at The Listening Room, taking in the sounds of someone I had never heard before. He was the opening act and his name is Ryan Sobb. Ryan lives in Birmingham and has been a resident there for 6 years. He is originally from Illinois. He started the show with a song he wrote for his mother. He said she has been through things she should not have had to go through. He caught my undivided attention with that statement and I was all ears. The song is called “Shine a Duck”. His mother loved taking trips down to the water and lighting up the ducks (with a flashlight) as they peacefully float in their nightly slumber. The song starts out like this, “we’ll sneak down to the lake, shine flashlights on the ducks. Dad, well he’s six beers deep, I’m sure he won’t give a damn…”(I believe he slipped in the word “DAMN” in place a little more offensive word that rhymes with DUCK, because we had a small child sitting at the front table).
I can see that his mom was seeking solace by shining ducks at the lake. At my age, I thought I had heard of every possible thing someone could do, however this truly is something I had never heard before. His words painted a clear picture of his family dynamic.
Another song that caught my ear was ”A Song for the Big Star”, he said its the story of a Rock Star…The chorus went like this, “I’m tired of all these women”, I’m tired of all the money”…”Whatever happened to my great art?” Everyone hears and interprets lyrics in their own way. There could easily be totally different messages received.
For me, I know that most musicians dream of becoming a star and each one has his or her own version of how that would look. This song points to the trade off that could be inevitable with stardom and the biggest loss would essentially be yourself, your talent.
Songs evoke feelings in us that we sometimes don’t even understand; that is exactly what music is suppose to do. A song should make you happy, or sad, or make you question why. If it does that, it has fulfilled its purpose.
I spoke to Ryan Sobb for a few minutes after the show. He is an attractive young man. Not married, no children and currently lives in Birmingham but plans to start playing some in our city. Ryan is a soft spoken, polite and genuine person who does not hide behind flowery words, he speaks from the heart. I enjoyed our conversation.
Abe Partridge was the MAN of the night. He was shooting with both barrels as he was the music headliner and he had his art for sell as it hung on the walls and perched on tables near the door. His art is unique; perhaps not for everyone’s taste but it is special. Abe pours his feelings into his paints and spreads that paint out to reveal what he is thinking. He is a deeply emotional person unlike any I have ever known. Furthermore, he wears those emotions and he shares them with the audience. The music gives him an outlet for his passion and so does the canvas.
When Abe Partridge sings he is 100% engaged with his thoughts and feelings. He does not bury anything inside; instead he leans his head back, plucks on his guitar and blasts it out for the world to see and hear. Abe is straight-forward, authentic…he is Bona Fide!
No one could ever watch one of his shows and doubt that he felt every word of every song as it left his tongue. As I watch, sometimes I get a bit nervous feeling what he has to say.
Abe left his occupation as a Baptist preacher in Kentucky. He returned home and soon left his pregnant wife and two children as he was deployed to the Persian Gulf to fight in the war. In his song about this journey there, he says “when I left, my babies was crying”…."Can’t tell the difference between a prison and this war”….”The Good guys and Bad guys ain’t so easily defined”…
If those lyrics are not enough to grip you, check to see if you have a pulse..something ain’t right.
Abe Partridge is a wide-open human being who is humble and kind. He unashamedly bears his tortured soul for you to see at every show. There is no other like him.
Thank You Jim Pennington for continuing to present talent at The Listening Room
Thank You Abe Partridge for putting your whole self into your work (music and art).
Thank You Ryan Sobb for supporting Abe and for the lesson of “Shine a Duck”
Thank You Catherine Partridge for being the strength that keeps Abe going.