Soul singer Aaron Abernathy is at the forefront of engaging in Dialogue on racial issues in America today. His 2017 sophomore album is one of DC’s finest, and he saved the video for its lead single “Generation” for last month’s somber remembrance of 50 years since we lost Dr. Martin Luther King. Director Real Rec combines archival footage of the ongoing struggle of minority communities with Ab’s hopeful presence in Washington as he sings about unity for all neighbors. #BEAPARTOFTHEDIALOGUE
There’s something special about music videos filmed during the song’s recording, a crackle that’s visible in the collaboration between musicians as they focus not on pleasing the crowd but in perfecting the sound for the studio engineer. Instrumental soul ensemble Backbeat Underground brought in the heavyweights for their new single “She Don’t Love Me (Like I Do)”, with a brass section including DC jazz greats Joe Herrera, Matt Rippetoe, Kirsten Warfield and Daniel Wallace, and vocals from Aaron Abernathy, whose 2017 album Dialogue is one of the highlights of the year. Now signed to the venerable DC electronic funk label Fort Knox Recordings, Backbeat Underground continues the legacy of brass-led jazz and funk that’s crucial to DC music’s identity.
Hometown Sounds continues our partnership with the Kennedy Center in presenting soulful vocalist and keyboard player Aaron “Ab” Abernathy and his live band Nat Turner for our January #DCmusic showcase at the Millennium Stage.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Abernathy comes from a long-line of historical pioneers including Civil Rights Leader, Rev. Ralph David Abernathy and student of the same high school music program as the late R&B great Gerald Levert.
He joined the ranks of artists like Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack as a graduate from the prestigious music program at Howard University, where he sharpened his vocal abilities and musicianship. With outstanding talents as both a pianist and a vocalist, he has acted as musical director for global touring acts Black Milk and Slum Village and collaborated with Grammy-nominated artists including Jack White, The Foreign Exchange, and Eric Roberson.
In the Spring of 2015, Abernathy and his band Nat Turner opened up for Black Milk on his “Play Like Hell European Tour” to rave reviews from European audiences. Ab’s aggressive combination of gospel-inspired vocals, tight change-ups, and raw funk vamps has been compared to D’angelo’s Voodoo tour. Ab’s performance on stage reveals his diligent study in the Prince and James Brown schools of showmanship. Abernathy co-produced his band Nat Turner’s collaborative effort with Black Milk titled “The Rebellion Sessions” and has toured most of 2016 for the Rebellion Tour with Black Milk, to support the album. In addition, this summer he co-headlined the 2016 Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival with Chick Corea.
RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Friday January 13th!
Tony shares the DC music origins behind his very magenta jacket, Paul is tickled by personalized Bandcamp thank-you emails.
Saba Abraha – You Are Not My Friend [How Things Fly]
Aaron Abernathy – Bachelorette feat. Phonte & Black Milk [Monologue]
Governess – Severance [“S/T”]
Light Arms – Unbearable Weight (Taking Out The Trash) [single]
Infinity Crush – Drowning Here With All My Friends [Warmth Equation]
huSEQ – Super Extoller [Rare Landing EP]
Soul singer Aaron “AB” Abernathy has built an impressive musical career since graduating from Howard University. Influential hip-hop group Slum Village tapped Ab as its musical director in the late 2000s, which led to a gig playing keys in Nat Turner, the backing band for Detroit’s own underground star Black Milk. Ab has released a series of singles, EPs and collabs, but DC is way more than ready for a full length solo album by this retro-soul champion, and in October we’ll get it when Monologue finally drops. The appetizer is now served with this lead-off single, a classic and soulful tribute to mothers called “Favorite Girl”.