Three Talented Men

April 18, 2018

Sitting at the table with my dear friend Kelly Bryars on Saturday night at The Listening Room, I waited with both excitement and anxiety. Soon the show would begin. The event was part of SouthSounds Music Festival and we had looked forward to seeing 3 talented guys playing together for the first time as a threesome. The excitement is understandable, but my anxiety was also real.


The match-up for this show was an eclectic grouping at best. It would be my son Eric Erdman (a singer/songwriter musician),  joined by Jamell “Melly-Mel” Richardson (a bluesy, jazzy singer-musician) and Abe Partridge, (a unique fellow who sings from the gut with a gritty-throaty voice and plays guitar).


Each of these guys have a real acquaintance with music.Its what fuels their journey. Each engages with the audience in their own way. They are alike only in the depth of how they touch our hearts as they sing. Otherwise they are as different as night and day. I worried greatly for weeks as I thought “how in this world is this going to turn out?”


Deepening my concerns about the evening, was the horrendous weather. There was rain, strong winds  and the claps of thunder could be heard throughout much of the show. The thought of a sparse audience was chilling for me. As is often the case when I work myself into a bundle of nerves; the worry was all in vain. 


There was a record crowd for The Listening Room with so many people standing in the entrance area it made me envision a large group of sardines packed tightly in a small can. Yet it was a wonderful sight to see.


Eric, Jamell and Abe did not appear to have a worry in the world. They were there to play …and play they did!


Eric opened with a song about bumping into a past love on the street and being at a point of understanding about it all. His impassioned feelings when he saw her made him think for a moment about a possible do-over or at least wishing to go back to the beginning with her; before so many things got in the way of their relationship. It is about the awkwardness of this chance meeting and the inability to say what he wanted to say.  In my view, this is something everyone has experienced and can certainly relate to. “The Pond” is the song and it is on his newest CD “It’s Not Like You Don’t Know Me”.  All of the songs on his new CD …really make you think!  It is filled with emotion and true life circumstances of his life. He also sang the title song, “It’s Not Like You Don’t Know Me”, check it out on YouTube and google him to see his talent for yourself.


Jamell sang several songs about the dynamics of how a man sees the world as opposed to how a woman sees the world. He also addressed how women react to things in a relationship compared to how the man reacts. Jamell often speaks to the audience during his songs, he talks directly to you and he normally requires a response back. He is, after all, “The Gulf Coast Blues Boy” and blues songs do that. It is very engaging and inclusive.

One of his songs tells the story of men having multiple relationships and thinking nothing of it. Yet if he learns his lady had an affair…he is totally devastated to the point of being unable to function…..don’t bathe, drinks for days, even his momma ain’t on his side anymore…so what can he do?  Virtually all of Jamell’s songs are relatable because they are man vs woman stories and very poignant messages. Think about it. He could be telling your story. Check out Jamell on YouTube or google him…if you love the blues, you will love Jamell.


Abe sang a song that was breath-taking, it was a letter to God. This song was about a time when he was emotionally living in the darkness. He asked for guidance to find his way out and return to the living, and the loving. It is called “Love in the Dark”. He also sang a song about when he was in the war in the middle east. His words were felt by everyone in the room as he said, ….”no difference between a prison and this war”….and….”The good guys and the bad guys ain’t so easily defined”. I am certain that a young man who must leave his young family and ends up on a battlefield wondering how he got there, must go through some real darknesss. He paints pictures with his words and sometimes those pictures are painful to see.

Check Abe out on YouTube and google, he is have never heard anyone quite like Abe Partridge.


This is only a peek into the performance by these fine, talented men. I cannot possibly cover the entire evening, I just hope you are able to get an idea of how it went on Saturday night at The Listening Room in Mobile. Record Crowd, Stellar Show, Big Love for all who attended!


This show amazed me with how well it went. Why did I worry? I should have just trusted in the abilities of Eric Erdman, Jamell Richardson and Abe Partridge, next time I surely will.


I thank all three of them for putting on a great show Saturday night.

Thank you also to Jim Pennington for what he does for the musicians by providing The Listening Room of Mobile.


Juanita Smith

Music Mom



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