Robert Abernathy is a man who hasn’t forgotten the elation of cracking the spine of a new vinyl record, as he did with Michael Jackson’s Thriller back in 1983. His living dream of being a celebrated musical sensation on Lower Broadway is the culmination of years spent soaking up the sounds of his Southern Gospel and Traditional Country upbringing in Gadsden, Alabama.
Abernathy’s monumental decision to forge a personal soundtrack began with the larger-than-life stereo speakers and an untouched Thriller record he received as a Christmas gift. His budding fascination with music unfurled as he consumed every note and lyric of Jackson’s timeless album, an experience he describes as ‘life-changing’. This unforgettable introduction to music moved him towards creating his own.
Self-taught guitarist, Abernathy began his journey into music by resurrecting an old Mickey Mouse acoustic guitar and diligently practicing with the help of a Mel Bay chord book. The familiar tunes of Alabama and The Eagles were his guideposts, molding his musical fervor.
“I remember specifically when that began to change though. For Christmas one year, (maybe 1983),” he reminisced. “I got one of those enormous stereos with speakers about 3 feet tall as well as Michael Jackson’s Thriller record. It was life-changing. I’d never heard anything like it. I memorized every note and every lyric of that record. I don’t know if that is the single thing that moved me toward creating music, but it was definitely the thing that perked my ears more than anything ever had up to that point. Years later, I took an old Mickey Mouse acoustic guitar out of my closet, bought a Mel Bay chord book, and taught myself how to play.”
Fast-forward to adulthood, Abernathy now dreams no more of performing on the bustling streets of Nashville. His younger self would be elated to see him gracing the stages of legendary venues like Legends Corner, The Stage, Wildhorse Saloon, and others. As both the lead singer and frontman for The US #1 Eagles Tribute Show, Eagle Sunrise Band, and Alabama Tribute Show, Alabama Sunset, Abernathy is also living out dreams once thought unattainable. Now based in Nashville, he believes these achievements are worthy tributes to the bands that shaped his formative years.
Recently, Abernathy presented his latest gift to the world; a meticulously crafted album, “Somewhere Around 18”. A collection of 18 personally resonating songs, the album is the fruit of his collaboration with various songwriters and producer, Josh Bright. Abernathy’s meticulous selection of tracks showcases his knack for producing radio-ready songs that resonate with listeners.
Prized among these melodious gems are fan favorites and personal hits, such as “Heaven Has a Radio”, “Out of the Blue”, “A Little Tied Up,” “Beach Looks Good on You” and “Redneck Magic”. Each track unique in its own right, the album serves as Abernathy’s fond recollection of youthful days filled with friends, foolishness, and boundless freedom when he was 18.
Outside of his buzzing musical career, Abernathy also harbors a passion for teaching. Despite a brief hiatus, the joy of shaping young lives drew him back to the profession. He now teaches physical education to Kindergarten through Fifth Grade students at a school in Nashville, experiencing unparalleled joy by bringing his unique energy and personality to the classroom—much like his approach to his music and performances.
Robert Abernathy showcases the same dedication and charisma that served him well in his musical ventures to his teaching engagements. His journey, from a voracious young observer of Southern Gospel to a charismatic performer and teacher, serves as stirring proof that dreams can be achieved with passion, dedication, and a little bit of “thriller” magic.
Published by: Martin De Juan