Abi Tapia
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Abi Tapia


Band Americana Folk


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"Carefree highway: Abi Tapia goes to look for America"

By Josh Rogers

The police report reads something like this: Stolen - various clothing, backpack, portable CD player, 20 CDs (Lyle Lovett, Shelby Lynne, Allison Moorer, the Dixie Chicks), camera, French pottery, soft guitar case, 50 copies of the new Abi Tapia album, and one notebook (with two years of songs in it). The victim - A singer-songwriter on a six-week, self-booked tour.

"Gone," says Tapia sadly. The biggest loss, of course, the irreplaceable notebook chock-a-block full of lyrics. "I'm hoping it will be good in the end," she says. "Maybe always staring at those verses I didn't like was stopping me from writing new ones."

The songs that remain intact, the ones on her debut album proper, This Life Will be Mine, reveal a voice that knows all too well the value of change, of leaving the known behind in search of the open road or the blank page. In "I'm not Listening," Tapia explores the unhealthy impulse to bolt for the door when things get too close: "Oh, but your hands on my back/Oh, your lips on my neck/Your fingers in my curls," she moans, betraying her desire to stay before she steels her will and walks out the door. "Words in my ear/Telling every part of me that I should stay here/And I'm not listening."

"Precious Things" finds the singer cursed with wanderlust again. Contemplative djembe patterings buoy a somewhat melancholy song and give a slightly upbeat cast to lyrics resigned to goodbyes: "The sky is clearing up now/And the roads are, too/West wind blowin' at my back/This morning instead of your face I saw the dawn/I have nothing to fear/There is nothing to make me stay/I'll pack my precious things/And send 'em on home to you someday."

The songs on the disc are solid nuggets of songcraft - distinct, evocative, and at times sensual. On occasion they feel a bit bare (as opposed to nude). Recorded with Jeff Ciampa and a handful of session guys in Columbus, Ohio, the band more often than not lays back, letting Tapia's voice drive the mood. Occasionally, though, the band's too quiet and unmemorable.

Briefly ditching the boys for the intensely up-close "Bottom of Texas," Tapia uses only her voice and an absently strummed guitar to bring you inside her world. Suddenly, as if a nervous actor has been pushed into the spotlight from offstage, a reedy clarinet stumbles into the scene. From there, the singer and the clarinet weave around each other in a lonely embrace. Although Tapia writes in several distinct voices, instrumentation like this (and the Wurlitzer on the spitfire "Motion Sickness") allows them to breathe and come alive (and break out of the trad singer-songwriter girl ghetto - she thanks Sark, joy, and contra dancing in her liner notes).

The clarinetist? Tapia's mom - a classically trained musician (Abi had to cajole her into loosening up and improvising). Her mom even played a show with her when Abi rolled into Ohio Wesleyan, near Mom's current home of Delaware, Ohio (outside Columbus), on tour. "I'm trying to convince her to go on the road with me," says Tapia excitedly. "Because I never have any sort of embellishment."

She knows this sort of collaboration is good for her own songwriting process. One of the biggest things she got out of her latest cross-country jaunt was a network of like-minded musicians. Connecting to these other labels, booking agents, and singers was the whole point of attending the Nashville New Music Conference on the last leg of her trip. It's a bummer then, that that was precisely when someone smashed her car window and stole her press kits. She was literally handing out photocopies of the one business card in her back pocket, she laughs. But she met a lot of good people.

"Did I tell you about the exercise room in Nashville?" she smiles. "At the conference there wasn't much chance to do any song-swapping. So late at night we'd get together and play for each other. One night we were playing in the Ramada Inn lounge but the muzak was too loud.

"We knew that there was an exercise room that didn't have the muzak, so we convinced a security guard to let us in. But it was really cramped with equipment. So here we were in this tiny mirrored room, folky singer-songwriters sitting around on stationary bikes and stairmasters, playing songs for each other," she says.

The sleepover camaraderie continues, "We smuggled in a case of beer in a guitar case - totally mafia style - but then we spilled some, and we're like 'Oh no, what do we do!?' There were these towels, so we soaked it up with that, but then we were like [panicking] 'What do we do with the beer towels?!?' "

This is precisely the community that Tapia has been running around the country trying to find. Turns out, they're all doing the same thing. Traveling doesn't have to be about running away - in this case, it's bringing her closer to her peers. She says her time away is allowing her to look at Portland with "fresh eyes." Then again, she just wrote a song that starts off "I never want to be where I am."

- Portland Phoenix

"Beauty Review"

Abi Tapia’s THE BEAUTY IN THE RUIN is a fine collection of sad songs sewn into a warm patchwork quilt with “a common thread of hope, redemption, and joy.” The people she writes and sings about have “spent a long, long time on the edge of a think red line” between right and wrong, pride and shame.

Tapia’s third CD includes a dozen consistently strong songs that, if they must be classified, are modern folk that would mostly fit on country radio, too. The tone might be a little too “confessional” for the electric guitar crowd, but that’s their problem. The songs are good, the music’s good and never in too much of a hurry, and Tapia’s fairly husky vocals resonate with sincerity appeal.

The CD’s title is a line from “Flying,” which Tapia wrote after flying over Louisiana and seeing the relationship between nature and man. With songwriting awards from the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Wildflower Music Festival, and the Austin Songwriters Group, we expect strong lyrics.

On “Beware,” the most traditional-folk-sounding song, Tapia urges us to beware of the water, beware of the sky, beware of the fire, and the earth beneath your feet, and to stay close to the TV because there’s no safety for a ship out on the sea. She means just the opposite of course, or at least means that living is worth the danger.

Chris Gage produced and added keyboards, guitar, Dobro, mandolin, and percussion with contributions from Glenn Fukunaga (bass), Bruce Logan (drums), Eleanor Whitmore (violin), and Buzz Evans (steel guitar). Gage, Christine Albert and Bill Small add effective backup vocals." - Tom Geddie
- Buddy Magazine


Singer-songwriter Abi Tapia comes up big with her third offering of soft Americana tunes. The Beauty in the Ruin continues nicely where 2005’s One Foot Out The Door left off. The title of the album comes from the anthemic “Flying.” Tapia sings: “I don’t need the world to be perfect / I don’t need to know what we’re doing/ Sometimes I just need a wider angle / To see the beauty in the ruin.” That is a pretty profound statement… as many of us are too busy running around and looking at the negatives in the world to pick out the good things in life

Storytelling and memories seem to run the theme here. “Another State Line” juxtaposes her nomadic upbringing with her life as a musician. “How It All Started” is where Tapia tells the story of high school loves who suffer the reality of one discovering a bigger world than the two of them. “Born Again” spotlights her struggle to be who she should with who she believes she is. Each song has wonderful music and a beauty in the lyrics.

Tapia has assembled a very good cast of musicians on The Beauty in the Ruin as well. The rhythm section of Glen Fukanaga (bass) and Bruce Logan (drums) lay a sweet beat down. Eleanor Whitmore’s violin is a beautiful accompaniment to Tapia’s slightly-southern tinged voice, and producer Chris Gage plays a number of instruments as well.

Catch Tapia at Flipnotics at the Triangle (4600 Guadalupe) on August 22 and if you’ve not picked up this gem, do it there. (A+) Sean Claes - Insite Magazine


by John Conquest

Tapia brims with confidence, her delivery of her country/folk/rock material both bold and nuanced. - 3rd Coast Music


by John Book

Abi Tapia's The Beauty In The Ruin (Moonhouse) is the kind of album that would have been perfect if there was a Lilith Fair tour going on this summer. That's not an attempt to limit the potential of this album, in fact I think it's the kind of album that will sit and simmer and only become better in time, but it makes me wish the music industry was different, as it's an album that would have been huge 10 to 15 years ago. But perhaps that's what makes it stand out, the fact that this is a great album and Tapia may have to work four times as hard to get her music and message across.

I want to be proven wrong. Tapia's style of Americana is warm and inviting, as she tells stories about all that life has to offer from her view point. "How It All Started" is about the beginning of one's life, following high school graduation and looking at a car or bus as an opportunity to get out of town and find... something. "Sorry" has her singing about someone who may have done her wrong but knowing (or at least hoping) "that there's a heart beating in your chest/that you would tell the truth". Tapia could easily become a blues belter in the vein of Bonnie Raitt or a less threatening Paula Cole (or at least I don't think Tapia will be doing any beatbox routines anytime soon). Her music is very vivid, and maybe it's because I'm a fan of storytelling songs, I want to join the artist on that journey or at least meet them halfway. It's very accessible to the country and pop markets, and I hope this gets a bit more coverage so people will be able to not only find out about Tapia, but appreciate where she's coming from and where she's about to head in her life and career.
- The Run-Off Groove


By Richard Skanse

In the sensitive singer-songwriters field, a little bit of charm and a knack for melody that goes beyond meditative brooding goes a long, long way. This bodes well for Austin newcomer (by way of New England) Abi Tapia, whose fine Texas debut (and second album to date) balances its quieter moments with a refreshing sparkle reminiscent of Terri Hendrix's Wilory Farm or Shawn Colvin at her most unguarded. Tapia definitely puts her best foot forward with the winsome, breezily catchy opener "Cried Wolf," but there's plenty more hummable tunes -- both sunny and melancholy -- here to keep the rest of the album afloat, too. - Texas Music

"Girly Action"

By Margeret Moser

Abi Tapia also just released her sophomore album, One Foot out the Door. The dozen confidently written songs weave tales of a woman assessing life and love with an uncompromising eye and sometimes bittersweet results ("Calamine Lotion," "For a While"). Produced by Chris Gage, One Foot gives Tapia a head start. - Austin Chronicle


By Sam Pfeifle

Buy her new album, One Foot out the Door. It's full of sweet-but-confident tunes, sounds kind of like Kathleen Edwards, and gives us the chills from time to time. - Portland Phoenix

"Texas Platters"

Bittersweet is more than an undertone in Abi Tapia's latest CD, but that's not the prevailing emotion here. Beauty weaves strong Southern influences with an old-school 1970s country-folk sensibility, mastering the understatement in her songs and avoiding cutesy-rootsy overkill with intelligence and a fine tenor on this turning-point recording. -Margaret Moser - The Austin Chronicle

"Americana songwriter Abi Tapia bursts onto Berkshire County indie scene"

Berkshirites better dust off their dancin' boots. There's a new indie singer/songwriter set to burst onto the music scene. Abi Tapia, 30, a native of Mobile, Ala., and most recently a resident of Austin, Texas, relocated to Housatonic in January and is set to win some new fans in gigs at the Dream Away Lodge in Becket tonight (Thursday, June 4) and Club Helsinki in Great Barrington on Monday, June 15.

Tapia, with her cascade of curls and nearly ever-present grin, exudes charm and down-home friendliness. Confident and relaxed, it is apparent she is where she wants to be and tickled pink about it, as well.

Despite some of the subject matter in her songs, her optimism shines through in her most recent album, "The Beauty in the Ruin," released in June 2008 by MoonHouse Records.
"This last album," she said, "I was deliberately trying to write about sad things, or hard things, or frustrations. ... But when I looked back at all of it, I saw there was always a happy ending, a conclusion, a lesson I learned from it."

For example, in "The Easy Way," Tapia writes of a conscious attempt to fall into depression, yet the music itself is uplifting and light, urging the listener to sing along. With steel guitar and fiddles accompanying her acoustic guitar and soulful vocals on this album, Tapia's music is toe-tappin' country at its best.

From Austin to Housatonic
But just how does a Southern girl make her way to Housatonic? Because of love, of course. Tapia and her girlfriend, Alison Hart, were living in Portland, Maine, when Tapia got the itch to move to Austin.One of the reasons Tapia moved to Austin, she said, was the support musicians receive there. For example, the City Council honors a different musician weekly, with the musician invited to play before the council and the week named for the musician. There was also the lure of PBS' "Austin City Limits" TV show as well.

But Hart was not happy in her job. A longtime dancer, she had made the decision to move into dance administration. To support Hart in the same way she herself had been supported in her desire to move to Austin, Tapia followed Hart here when she accepted a job at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Tapia said.

Madonna, Williams and Parton
Tapia's music influences are as varied as they get. "'Lucky Star' by Madonna was the very first single I bought on 45," she said. From Madonna and other classic 1980s songstresses, Tapia moved "more into singer/songwriters like Dar Williams, the Indigo Girls."

Her interest expanded to include more country artists as well as what she termed "classic country."

"I loved the simplicity of it," she said. "A straight-up country song - it's so refreshing and beautiful," she added. Favorites then included Dolly Parton and Lyle Lovett.
Today, Tapia is listening more often to Nashville performers, but with a specific goal in mind: She is trying to write more for the publishing market.

"For me, it's the writing. I really, really love performing, but if I had to choose if my song would reach a wide audience with someone else singing it, or I would reach a wide audience singing someone else's song, I'd definitely choose for my song to go without me," she said.

Breaking in
For some artists, breaking into new venues can be difficult, without the right foundation. That is not the case for Tapia, whose way was smoothed by her participation last summer in the Emerging Artists Showcase at the Falcon Ridge Festival in Hillsdale, N.Y. Twenty artists are chosen to perform; of those 20, four are chosen by the audience as "Most Wanted to Return." The festival will be held this year July 23-26.

"So that's like a New England stamp of approval for venues," Tapia said.

Tapia certainly is willing to go the limit to get her music heard. With tour dates already booked into 2010, her venues stretch from Reading, Mass., to Houston, Texas, to New York City, Montpelier, Vt., and beyond. She is currently trying to put a fall European tour together with two other Austin songwriters.
But regardless of where her listeners are - from the wilds of Becket and the Dream Away, to the urbanites in Manhattan, to friends and supporters in Austin - there are a couple of things Tapia would like them to take away from her music.

"My favorite thing about music when I'm listening to it - when you're in a funk and you hear a song and it brings you out of it . if I could give someone that feeling," she said.
"Just to kind of think life is really complex and complicated, but at the end of the day, it's a good thing to be alive and get to experience it all." - Advocate Weekly


The Beauty in the Ruin
MoonHouse Recrods (2008)
Produced by Chris Gage
Recorded and mixed by Chris Gage at MoonHouse Studio, Austin, TX
Additional engineering by Bill Small
Mastered by Fred Remmert

Abi Tapia - vocals, background vocals, acoustic guitar
Chris Gage - guitars, keyboards, mandolin, dobro, percussion, background vocals
Glenn Fukunaga - bass
Bruce Logan - drums
Eleanor Whitmore - viloin
Buzz Evans - pedal steel
Christine Albert - background vocals
Bill Small - background vocals

Art Direction & Design by Dick Reeves and Heather Hill
Photography by Todd V. Wolfson

All songs written by Abi Tapia (Wanderlusty Music/Golly Gee Music ASCAP)

Abi's Song "Get It And Go" is included on The Ginn Sisters' 2006 Release, Blood Oranges

One Foot Out the Door (2005)
All songs by Abi Tapia (Wanderlusty Music, ASCAP) except “Hand Over Your Heart” by Abi Tapia and Anders Rasmussen (Gotcha Covered Music, ASCAP).

Produced and Engineered by Chris Gage at MoonHouse Studios, Austin, TX.

Abi Tapia – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica
Chris Gage – Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Keyboards, Dobro, Harmony Vocals
Glen Fukanaga - Bass
Paul Pearcy – Drums and Percussion
Eamon McLoughlin – Violin and Viola
Kym Warner – Mandolin
Mike Hardwick – Lap and Pedal Steel
Brit Ginn and Tiffani Ginn – Harmony Vocals

"Fine Texas debut (and second album to date) balances its quieter moments with a refreshing sparkle reminiscent of Terri Hendrix's Wilory Farm or Shawn Colvin at her most unguarded."
Texas Music

This Life Will Be Mine (2001)
All songs by Abi Tapia (Wanderlusty Music, ASCAP).

Produced and Engineered by Jeff Ciampa.
Mastered by Joe Viers at John Schwaab Studios, Columbus, OH.

Abi – Acoustic guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
Jeff Ciampa – Bass, Wurlitzer
Tony McClung – Drums
Jim Ed Cobbs – Percussion
Nancy Gamso – Clarinet, Flute

“The songs on the disc are solid nuggets of songcraft – distinct, evocative, and at times sensual . . . the band more often than not lays back, letting Tapia’s voice drive the mood.”
The Portland Phoenix



Abi Tapia smiles big when she’s sings. She can’t help it - she’s having so much fun. But in the world of independent music, where it’s hip to be tortured, she sometimes feels like a Pollyanna.

Abi undoubtedly gets her optimism from her mom who was expelled from Catholic School for being pregnant with her, but called it “the best day of her life.” Abi’s first fifteen years were a blur of Southern towns and yearly uprooting as her mother chased work and higher education. But the constant moving was presented as a big adventure and instilled in Abi the idea that new places have potential for happiness, discovery and success. So she kept moving.

Following her nomadic childhood she attended college in Iowa, where she was a Sociology major at Grinnell College, and began her professional music career while living in Portland, Maine. But Abi found herself attracted to the sweet twang and straightforward approach of country music so she migrated to Austin, Texas in 2002, where she quickly rooted herself in the city’s thriving live music scene. With its blend of country sincerity, cosmopolitan snap and plethora of skilled pickers, she continued maturing and developing her own style. Along the way she picked up awards and recognition for her songwriting from The Wildflower Music Festival, Austin Songwriters Group and the Kerrville Folk Festival.

The inviting warmth of the South, the expansiveness of the Midwestern Plains, the pluck and determination of a New England Yankee and a Texan’s independent spirit all come together in Abi’s “wanderlusty” music (a term she proudly displays on her guitar strap).

Tapia’s 2005 release, One Foot Out The Door, a driving collection of songs about loving and leaving produced by multi-instrumentalist Chris Gage, compelled The Austin Chronicle to comment that “the dozen confidently written songs weave tales of a woman assessing life and love with an uncompromising eye and sometimes bittersweet results.” Featuring the hot playing of Kym Warner (mandolin) and Eamon McGoughlin (fiddle) from acclaimed group The Greencards, the CD rose to the Top 40 on Americana radio.

Abi chased the music around the country, playing legendary listening rooms like Club Passim, The Bitter End, The Bluebird Café and Eddie’s Attic, while other nights she sang her heart out in crowded living rooms, libraries, or under a gazebo on a sprawling Texas ranch. Her songwriter’s sensibility allows her to appreciate the details and subtle differences of each place she visits and offers potential adventure and inspiration. That inspiration led to 12 new songs and Abi Tapia once again called on Chris Gage to produce.

2008’s The Beauty in the Ruin explores sadness and frustration, which after 8 years of the starving artist’s life Abi had plenty of, but there is a common thread of hope, redemption and joy in all of these supposedly sad songs. It is full of sing-able hooks and straddles country, folk and rock with ease, incorporating fiddle and pedal steel as well as some crunchy electric guitars and big drums. Abi and Chris got along so well that Gage and his wife and partner Christine Albert (together known as the Americana duo Albert and Gage) collaborated with Abi to release The Beauty in the Ruin on their label, MoonHouse Records. Happily, Abi is packing up and heading out across the country with her wanderlusty music in hand.

With a new album to promote, a strong community of friends and fellow artists in Austin, the energy of and support of her partnership with MoonHouse Records and the ability to find the bright side in any situation, how could Abi not be smiling? But she won’t stop moving, because there could always be something even better just over the horizon.

Awards and Achievements

Voted "Most Wanted" to return for 2009 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
2008 Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist Showcase Artist
Winner 2008 Songwriters Contest at Texas State Fiddle Championship
Showcased at 2008 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference
Showcased at 2007 Southwest Regional Folk Alliance
Showcased at 2006 SXSW Festival
Winner, 2005 Wildflower Festival Songwriter Contest
Special Recognition, 2003 Kerrville New Folk Contest, invited to appear at the 2004 Festival
2003 Scholarship Award from Austin Songwriters Group
Winner, 2001 Maine Arts Songwriter Showdown