A new single is being released this week by Barry Abernathy on Billy Blue Records. “Birmingham Jail” is being released to radio and features Barry with special guest, Vince Gill.
Fans of Appalachian Road Show, however, needn’t be concerned about Abernathy’s continued partnership in that group with Darrell Webb and Jim Van Cleve; a band rounded out by the talents of Todd Phillips and Zeb Snyder. Barry Abernathy & Friends is a project that actually began before Appalachian Road Show came to be.
“Birmingham Jail,” a very special cut by Abernathy with Gill, is the first release from Barry Abernathy & Friends, an 11-track collection Abernathy recorded on his own, which is set for release in late February.
Several years ago, as Barry Abernathy and Darryl Webb were still tossing around ideas for what would become their new highly successful collaboration, Appalachian Road Show, Abernathy had a few other things weighing on his mind. He’d left Mountain Heart and was facing a serious neck surgery. Doctors warned him that there was a risk of damage to his vocal chords, and Barry felt the need to have his voice recorded just in case.
“I really hadn’t sung on that many recordings,” Abernathy says. “I was thinking about something my kids could have one day, and I was wishing I had a project.”
The award-winning banjo player started to record a few things on his phone, making the most of the acoustics in his bathroom. He’d heard a version of “Birmingham Jail” on an old TV show and included it in the mix. Eventually, he shared the recordings with pal, Van Cleve, who urged Barry to do a record, and the idea for an album entitled Barry Abernathy & Friends was sparked.
Although he’d already begun searching for songs for his band with Webb, Abernathy kept finding others he wanted to record; more straight-up bluegrass.
“These are songs I love,” Abernathy says, “but they didn’t necessarily fit the style or theme we were considering for the Appalachian Road Show concept.”
Now, 4 years later, this amazing collection features Barry Abernathy with an impressive roster of friends including Gill, Doyle Lawson, Rhonda Vincent, Ron Stewart, and many more.
“Birmingham Jail” is the first release from this album on Billy Blue Records.