Muddy Creek Muse: Abigail Dowd

1) What kind of music did you start out listening to?

My first musical memory is from around two years old, running circles around the living room on my stick horse while my father played Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, and trying not to gallop too heavy near the record player. I think I knew the words to Tit Willow by that age, too. Also at that age, I remember my mother’s music, going to sleep listening to recordings of her playing the guitar and singing from her days on the music circuit. Those are very early memories. Janis Ian, Carol King, James Taylor and Jim Croce were also early influences as I got older.

When I really started exploring music on my own, around middle school and high school, I gravitated to Janis Joplin, the Doors, Louis Armstrong, CCR, and Joni Mitchell.

2) In a local music scene that has more bars than music venues, what is your advice for singer/songwriters trying to establish themselves in this area?

My advice would be to just get out there – whether you’re playing or listening. There is a welcoming, diverse music community in the Triad with great open mics and kind folks who know the scene. Play for your friends; share the music and your passion. You never know when someone might hear you and know someone looking for a musician. And get out there and support other artists. It’s a great way to meet the music community, and there is much to be learned from the folks who have been at this for a long time.

3) You are performing with the Muddy Creek Players on May 27th at the Muddy Creek Music Hall, including a version of a song you wrote called “Dare the Devil.” What inspired you to write that song?

My mother is a musician and grew up singing with her two sisters and with her younger brother on bass. They traveled all over singing gospel music. “Dare the Devil” is about the three sisters. Though they don’t sing together anymore, when we used to spend holidays together, they always sang hymns and carols in beautiful harmonies, and it was so arresting.

4) When writing your songs, which comes first, the melody, or the lyrics?

It’s not always one or the other. On occasion or two, with songs that write themselves, the lyrics and the music come together as I noodle it out. More often than not, I’d say that the guitar part comes first, then the lyrics and melody. And other times, I realize that lines I’ve jotted down fit into a guitar piece I’ve been working on and I go from there.