The California outlaws known as The Abigails find themselves dead center in the holy trinity of blunt rolling electric cowboys – right between the country workin’ man Father, Natural Child, with whom they share a similar stomp and drawl, and Holy Groovy Beach Ghosts, The Growlers.
(Lead singer Warren Thomas actually used to tour with The Growlers as their percussionist, pre-Abigials: an experience which may be responsible for those familiar jangling guitar riffs and sauntering tempos.)
But beyond frame of reference, The Abigails have a dark country sound all their own. And it’s one which has matured beautifully with their second Burger Records release, Tundra.
Warren Thomas and his deep, near snarling voice is the soul of The Abigails. He is a desert-weary prophet, spouting booze soaked biblical imagery. He’s as merciless as he is romantic. His persona fills the tracks of Tundra as his talented band gracefully supports him without competition.
I have to admit, most of what I listen to personally tends to be (at least) pushing 40 years old. This preference for well worn recordings makes me really really excited when a new release comes along and grabs my attention, as The Abigails’ “Tundra” has done so beautifully this year.
I sold my personal space for a song and made the effort to catch them at Beach Goth this year. I pressed my shoulders through the hot mess of bodies packed into the Constellation Room on a late October afternoon and I mean the walls could have burst, it was so full. And when The Abigails hit the stage, we were rocked and shoved involuntarily every which way by the crowd. I couldn’t help but smile (and thank gawd i wasn’t claustrophobic) as the energy level of the room rose higher and higher. It was rolling down from the stage, over the crowd and back up again in waves as the band cranked though their set. Someone even busted out a ventriloquist doll to do some crowd surfing right around the Hazelwood cover of “It’s Nothing to Me.” We smoked and danced and just just about burned that place to the ground at 3 PM. Easily my favorite set of Beach Goth and a damn good way to get to know The Abigails.
Standout tracks from Tundra:
For You (Roky Erickson)
(art by Daniel Zender)