Kevin Abernathy's last album, Scrap Metal Blues, released last summer, was a bold but slightly uncomfortable mashup of hot-stuff guitar heroics and country-ish classic rock. His new disc, Some Stories, available this week, is a step way back, to twangy, mostly acoustic country-folk-rock, complete with mandolin, banjo, and fiddle, in addition to Abernathy's work on acoustic and electric guitar.
The focus on Some Stories shifts away from the guitar acrobatics on Scrap Metal Blues and back to Abernathy's true strength: his songwriting. (He's a great guitar player, but that's rarely enough to carry a full album.) It also uncovers his voice and gives it space; his raspy vocals land somewhere in between Paul Westerberg and Steve Earle.
Some Stories is not exactly a stripped-down record, with contributions from a who's who of rootsy local music, including Sean McCollough, Greg Horne, Mic Harrison, Andy Breyton, Leah Gardner, Steph Gunno, Vance Hillard, and Brad Henderson. But it's a transparent and unfussy disc, and a reminder of Abernathy's multiple talents.