Rod Abernethy - Bio

Rod Abernethy is a unique blend of an authentic southern folk troubadour, master acoustic guitarist, and award winning songwriter and composer for film, TV and video games and the Overall Grand Prize Winner of the 2021 International Acoustic Music Awards. In 2019 he was the Grand Prize winner of American Songwriter's Bob Dylan Song Contest. His last album Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore, produced by Grammy nominated producer Neilson Hubbard (Mary Gauthier, Kim Richey, Glen Phillips), received rave reviews from No Depression, American Highways and The Wall Street Journal and was the Top 20 CD of 2021 at No. 11 on the Folk International Folk Charts.

Rod’s talents go beyond being a dynamic performer, vocalist, instrumentalist, and storyteller. He’s a prolific photographer, a sculpture artist of whimsical steampunk found-object robots and a seasoned teacher and adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, NC, where he teaches how to score video games. As composer, Rod has scored and produced music for countless television shows, commercials and over 80 video games including the Electronic Art's blockbuster hit "Dead Space" which won a BAFTA Award in 2009 for Best Use of Audio and Tolkien's "The Hobbit" for Vivendi Universal which won the Game Audio Network Guild’s Video Game Soundtrack Of The Year in 2003. 

Rod continues to perform live in acoustic venues and halls across the country. Past venues include The Woodstock Folk Festival (Woodstock, IL), Club Passim (Boston, MA), The Cat’s Cradle (Chapel Hill, NC) and the ISIS Music Hall (Asheville, NC). He will also be a featured artist on this year’s popular PBS series, Songs At The Center hosted by Eric Gnesda.

Radio Promotion/Interviews: Kari Estrin Management & Consulting, Nashville TN 37206 - 615.262.0883 -


Quotes & Press

“Impressive guitar-picking is an attraction in itself, and Mr. Abernethy proves an adept, vocal interpreter with his takes on John Mayer’s “Changing” and Bob Dylan’s “Oxford Town.” The title song was apparently written just before the pandemic hit, but certainly applies could be an anthem.” – The Wall Street Journal

“A message as poignant as it is heartwarming...this idea of unity, so valuable and necessary in these times of polarization and strife, is so beautifully done.”  – American Songwriter on “Another Year” 

"Nothing may be normal in 2021, but Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore offsets Abernethy’s doom and gloom with true joy."  – No Depression

"Original songs that reflect some of the more affirmative and encouraging aspects of contemporary life. His guitar playing evokes comparisons to such luminaries as Leo Kottke, John Fahey, and Tommy Emmanuel."  – PopMatters

“Abernethy’s masterful guitar picking and poetic folk chanting combined with a lively melody captures a wholesome moment when it feels like sweetness is hard to come by. The entire world seems like it’s up in flames, but this moment Abernethy shared with a family of birds captured in song provides us a drop of desperately needed honey.” - BTRToday on “Birds In The Chimney” 

“Such a gifted writer and talented guitarist...his are not only well-crafted songs; they are important, provocative messages that need to be shared.”  – Country Standard Time

“What’s instantly likable is the voice and compositions that gel perfectly with originality turns of phrases that create clever appetizing moments. The majority of the songs are carefully rendered, written and showcased. Almost no inclination toward lyrical cliches. I can’t consider Rod a folk singer because he doesn’t pigeon-hole his material. This may be one of the year’s best already. He’s a vivid, expressive artist.”   – Americana Highways

"Particularly well-crafted with strong melodies. The instrumental sections of several songs here really show off Abernethy’s skill at summoning a mood or feeling. The lyrics are clear, direct, simple but elegant. The work of an accomplished and mature musician storyteller, Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore is a musically exceptional bit of folk music."   Lyric Magazine

"Masterfully played and with skilled wordsmanship, it deserves to be part of your new normal."  – Fatea 

“Every couple of years it seems like I come across a record that’s filled with all kinds of little audio treasures. Sweet little instrumental licks, well told stories, an admirable turn of lyrical phrase, subtle references to previous artists or songs–something new pops up every time I hear the album. Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore is the latest one of those to find me.”  – Twangville

 “He does such an amazing job of bringing true feelings and emotions to life and makes it sound flawless.”  That Music Mag

“Clarion vocals, masterly guitar playing...the complete creative and artistic package. Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore proves that an abnormally good singer and guitarist can do just about anything.”  – Listening Through The Lens

"The characters that Rod Abernethy crafted for Normal Isn't Normal Anymore album are astonishingly real and well rounded. Whether it's Another Year or It's Always Something, the listener feels part of the story in ways that remind the audience of staples like Darkness on The Edge of Town from Bruce Springsteen or Dolly Parton's Jolene.  Jamie Rodriguez - Jrodconcerts: The Podcast - December 2020

"Abernethy’s masterful guitar picking and poetic folk chanting combined with a lively melody captures a wholesome moment when it feels like sweetness is hard to come by. The entire world seems like it’s up in flames, but this moment Abernethy shared with a family of birds captured in song provides us a drop of desperately needed honey."  Elena Childers - BTRtoday - December 2020

"When Rod begins to sing, his heart also follows. Whether it's one of his own songs or a rendition of someone else’s, Rod Abernethy has a way of capturing the song the way it was intended. Not to mention he can play a guitar just like a-ringin' a bell. I personally call him the “Everyman’s Mark Knopfler” because he has an amazing skill set as singer songwriter and guitarist but also a truth in his deliverance that can appeal to every person."   Josh Belcher - Josh Belcher Uncharted Podcast - November 2020

"During my short time with Rod, I felt like we went on a journey together - he the "learned" and I the "learning". He opened our eyes and our hearts to new concepts and shone light on old feelings, now renewed. Listen to his new album and he will surely impart the same wisdom, emotion, and wit onto you. P.S.- he plays a mean 12-string!!"   Teddy Cole - The Green Room/Scenes Media - November 2020

"Rod Abernethy wrote his new album’s title track over a year ago when all of our views of “not normal anymore” were, in retrospect, hilariously naïve. Armed with what he didn’t know at the time was the most appropriate album title of 2020, Abernethy took a trip from his North Carolina home to Nashville to work with Neilson Hubbard on the album’s 10 songs. The album includes his cover of “Oxford Town,” which won American Songwriter’s Bob Dylan Song Contest in 2019."  Chris Griffy - No Depression Magazine, October 2020 

"Rod Abernethy’s blistering version of “Oxford Town” has been chosen as the winner of our Bob Dylan Song Contest. Abernethy turned the relatively obscure early Dylan song about racial injustice into a tour-de-force, complete with a focused vocal delivery, tight and percussive rhythm, fiery guitar licks and solid harmonica playing."  American Songwriter Magazine- November 2019

"There were moments within the two-hour window of Abernethy’s performance that I found myself utterly transfixed by his guitar-playing abilities; being able to watch a skilled musician up-close felt exhilarating and magical, like observing a rare spectacle that only a few lucky individuals get to witness. The heartfelt nature of his lyrics, combined with Abernethy’s soulful voice and clever storytelling style, made for a truly authentic and captivating show.  Audience members were quick to cheer him on for one last song after the second set concluded, which speaks to the level of interest that had taken hold in the room."   Allison Hastings - The North Reading Transcript - August 2019

The Winston Salem Journal feature- "Rod Abernethy's winding musical career leads back to folk music and an acoustic guitar"  by Lisa O'Donnell

"Rod Abernethy's album The Man I'm Supposed To Be is a tour de force for this mulit-talented singer/artist."   MAVERICK - The Leading Independent Country Music Magazine - July/August 2018

"We're somewhat of a new live music series in Wake Forest and we're slowly building awareness and getting some good crowds for "marque artists". We were overwhelmed with the turnout for Rod's show. Complete sell out, which is very rare for such a young series. The crowd was enthralled from the beginning to the end, soaking up every word of Rod's stories and songs. They got every penny out of what they paid."   Mike Allen - The Wake Forest Listening Room, Wake Forest, NC






Click on the photos below for a high-rez press photo of Rod 

Photo by Jonathan Byrd

Photo by Jonathan Byrd