Singer-songwriter Fred Abong has released his new ‘Yellowthroat’ LP via Seattle-based startup Disc Drive, recorded together with Rob Ahlers, drummer in 50FOOTWAVE and the Kristin Hersh Trio, of which Abong is also a part.
This is Abong’s sixth album, having self-released five on his own, as well as two EPs. Abong’s music has been described as a cross between “ragged Replacements and lyric-driven Bob Dylan,” and as “Elliott Smith with balls”.
Shortly ahead of this, Abong presented the song ‘Passenger Side’ along with a self-produced video, following earlier singles ‘Twister’ and ‘Aurora’, released ahead of his recent UK and US tours, where he supported Kristin Hersh.
Fred Abong is a Filipino-American artist, whose music represents an endearing mix of indie-alternative rock and folk singer-songwriter. His work is characterized by existential and romantically focused poetic lyrics, a hypnotic, sometimes gravelly, baritone voice, off-kilter and down-tuned guitars and unconventional song structures. He has a raw and unpolished production aesthetic with an overall direct, though deceptively imaginative and oblique, presentation.
“When I wrote ‘Yellowthroat’, I was (and still am, honestly) in a very romantic way. Of course, love and romance are impossible to straightforwardly convey, but I chose the straightforwardly romantic classical guitar as the primary instrument for the record, nonetheless. I grew up hearing my older siblings playing it around the house, and at an early age fell in love with its inherent drama and melancholy. I also learned to play the classical guitar (in my own way) but never felt compelled to write or record with it until now. I guess I had to wait until I was truly in love to feel I could approach it properly,” says Fred Abong.
“Aside from attempting to capture the subtleties of new love, I also knew that I wanted ‘Yellowthroat’ to be more than just a collection of songs in the tradition of Leonard Cohen et. al. This is why I asked my pal Rob Ahlers (50 Foot Wave, KH Trio), a master drummer and all-around musical savant, if he would lend both his song-oriented ear and his multi-talented musical touch to the record. After I wrote all the songs and recorded the guitar and vocals at home between Dec 2020 and March 2021, Rob got busy, adding his parts and shaping the general direction of the production in fits and starts over the next year. The result is my version of an old fashioned crooner record (‘In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning’ was on heavy rotation during the writing phase, hence the cover). It’s a tribute to heartache and romance, existentially framed, colored with punk rock edginess, and filtered through a difficult-to-place, vapor-wave production.”
Until returning to music full-time, Abong spent nearly a decade immersed in academia, completing a Ph.D. in Humanities and working as an adjunct professor in the Religious Studies, Philosophy, and English Departments at various universities. He has also been a practicing Vedic astrologer for the past 20 plus years.
‘Yellowthroat’ is out now, available on CD and 12-inch 160-gram black vinyl, as well as digitally via Bandcamp, where the record is available in all formats.