Jim Abel's Music Hall

                                                    The Sun Newspapers May 21, 2008

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Leawood musician releases album

By: Philip Batson, Staff Writer

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jim Abel considers himself a songwriter, but manages to sing and play the guitar a little, too.

The Leawood-based musician will release his fourth independent album, Thunder, at a party 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 27, at bar Natasha, 1911 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.

Abel will then embark on a nine-stop tour around the Kansas City metro area from May 30 to June 30, including performances in Eudora, Topeka and Richmond, Mo.

Abel, 61, began working on the album in November and for the first time worked with a professional producer. Through working with Steve Phillips, guitarist for The Elders, Abel honed his sound and album like never before.

It’s very intense, Abel said. “It took uncounted hours. It was like another full-time job on top of my other work.”

He writes and records his voice, guitar, accordion and piano at his home, but working in a studio allowed Phillips to master the tracks with additional guitar work.

Abel said the album’s tracks are relationship songs, but not in the usual, straightforward, love-song kind of way. He mixes in a few funny songs, too, and said he thought hard about the mix of tracks.

Abel said he trashed the title song, Thunder, at least four different times and cut several songs from the album.

He said he “was surprised at the increased production process.”

”I had no notion of how hard it would be,” he said.

Abel said “Thunder” is better than his three previous records, “Live! From Death Valley Junction,” ”Patriot Act” and “Decoration Day,” released from 2003 to 2006. He said he has gotten better as a writer and demanded more of himself this time around.

”I work really hard at writing,” Abel said. “I get better all the time. I have a knack for it, but I also work very hard at it, so I’m better at it then I was five years ago.”

The former corporate executive became a stay-at-home dad until his son, Ted, left for college. He has been a full-time private investor since 1985, but said music has been his lifelong love.

Abel has been writing music since he left college, but only recently began performing. He has performed more than 60 shows in the past 18 months. He does a regular show the third Wednesday of the month at Starbucks on the Plaza, becoming the first musician to perform there. Abel said he is also working to get “Thunder” into local Borders stores.

For more information, visit www.wordsandmusic.us.

”For me it’s about the music,” Abel said.  “If people listen to the songs, it’s great, and it’s great if they buy the CD and it’s great if they think Jim Abel’s a great performer, but to me it’s about the music. The songs are all about something, and I think music makes a difference in people and people’s lives. You can never do wrong by having good music.”

All songs, words and music, plus the entire website © 2008 and various dates by Jim Abel

wordsandmusic.us

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