In the very opening lines of singer/songwriter Abby K ‘s “Heart Shaped Rock” she softly recalls over a a finger picked acoustic guitar, “When I was 23 / my momma said to me / Nothing worth fighting for/ comes easily.” A simple piano melody soon enters as does a male vocalist that begins to sing along in a deep baritone which proves to be a lovely foil and harkens back to the days of the male/female folk duos.
The final verse echoes back to the first with “Some might say I’m wasting all the minutes that I’ve got / Looking for the perfect heart-shaped rock.” The line is of course a metaphor for searching out one’s path in life, but to Abby K in particular it literally is the genesis of her album Heart Shaped Rock.
Abby K was born in Kentucky where she got a taste of the country and the twang is still there despite having lived half her life in Chicago and the settling out in Seattle. It is an equal mixture of this southern hospitality, Midwestern charm, and along with the vast and open freeness of the upper west coast that makes Heart Shaped Rock feel so much different than much of what the singer/songwriter genre has to offer to most people. Abby K proves she can do just about anything as she jumps from genre to genre seamlessly.
On the upbeat toe-tapping “With You In Mind” Abby K gives us a taste of the Grand Ole Opry then takes us into the musical theater piece “My Perfect Situation” with its noir brass and gypsy-styled melodies. Then she slips back into the seedy and slow alt country mode with the heartfelt slow jam “Just Passing Through,” and then later strips it down for the percussive, syncopated pop on songs like “Behind the Smile” and “You’re My Moon.” Although Abby K seems at her best and most at home when she’s tugging, like a fraught puppeteer on the listener’s heartstrings as she does so beautifully on “Pauline.”
Though Abby K may fit the physical mold of singer/songwriter, Heart Shaped Rock is definitely not molded into the typical singer/songwriter record. It is in fact just as rare as a heart shaped rock hiding amongst its more characteristically shaped companions, just waiting to be
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