It’s not too tough to pin down Abe Partridge’s influences on his latest. Everyone from John Prine and Townes Van Zandt to Dylan and Willie (hell, he’s even got a song about the Red Headed Stranger on his latest), can be heard throughout “Cotton Fields and Blood for Days.” And like his musical heroes, the Mobile-based Partridge shares a knack for strong storytelling, slightly off-kilter vocal delivery and a tendency to turn in perfectly imperfect country songs with a strong streak of punk rock and individuality.
The appeal of his sophomore effort, “Cotton Fields and Blood for Days” can best be understood by listening to just two songs; The seemingly traditional “Ride Willie Ride (or Thoughts I Had While Contemplating Both the Metaphysical Nature of Willie Nelson and His Harassment by the Internal Revenue Service)” and the slightly more raucous “I Wish I was a Punk Rocker.” Musically, the styles are pretty far apart, though both boast acoustic guitars, “Ride Willie Ride” hues closer to a traditional country waltz, while “I Wish I was a Punk Rocker” overlays a distorted guitar and backing vocals. But both sport Partridge’s smart, impressively droll lyrics, a hallmark of his music.
Along with eight originals, the album closes with a brief but spirited cover of the spiritual “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down.” Though the song has been covered by everyone from Robert Plant to Uncle Tupelo, Partridge leaves his mark here.
Like those musicians that clearly inspired him, Partridge can be an acquired taste for some, but one well worth getting into.
Abe Partridge – Cotton Fields and Blood for Days/9 tracks/Skate Mountain Records/2018