Abbye West Pates is a little folk, a little country,
and loves a good story.
Abbye West Pates learned to sing in the deep south, harmonizing with hymns when the light filtered in through stained-glass windows. The light comes to her upriver now, in Memphis, where she’s learned to sing folk, Americana, and the blues as heard in her latest 2022 single release, History, recorded with her band at Memphis Magnetic Recording.
Armed with her Breedlove guitar and pour-over-coffee-stained notebooks, Abbye brings the sounds of all the places and artists that shaped her to house concerts across the southeast. Her listeners have compared her to artists as disparate as Patty Griffin, Lori McKenna, and Audrey Assad, but all of them have agreed that “honest” is the best word to describe Abbye. That honesty is evident in the way she weaves storytelling with singing, inviting her listeners to join her in finding their own answers to unanswerable questions about God and unity and the self and what those things have to do with each other, anyway.
Her listeners remember her as a doubter, a seeker, and a sometimes faith-keeper who reminds them of the ways those adjectives might be true of them, too. “Abbye is truly a poet,” writes Randy Majek, owner of Majek Vineyard and Winery, which has provided a stage for Abbye’s singing and storytelling. “Her heartfelt songwriting pulls in all listeners. Her stories in song are guaranteed to touch your soul. You cannot leave her performance without being moved.”
Abbye’s online listeners have been touched by the artist, too, as Abbye released a pair of singles - Better With Time and To Be Well - produced by Casey Combest at Blue Sky Studios in Jackson, Mississippi in 2022. Both songs speak to the not-yet nature of the world and of the value and necessity of hope, and Combest himself called both songs “an overwhelming joy to produce.” The Fairview Sound Sessions tracks followed a string of studio albums – Leaving the Shadows (2012), Miles of Green (2016), And With Us Sing (2020) – that trace Abbye’s journey through doubt and faith and gladness and melancholy.
Her honest portrayal of the spectrum of human experience has found connection in places like the 25th Annual Rose Garden Performing Songwriter Competition in Mansfield, Massachusetts, where she won first place, and the 2021 Songwriter’s Serenade, where she was shortlisted as a finalist. She’s played for hundreds of spiritual seekers at Lake Junaluska in the mountains of North Carolina, but she brings the same honest storytelling to living rooms, to patios, and to sanctuaries. She hopes you’ll pull up a chair and find yourself in the story.
Bio by Taylor Hathorn.