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Friday, Jun. 13, 2008

From corporate exec to folksinger

Leawood singer-songwriter Jim Abel performs tonight at the Celtic Fox

By Bill Blankenship

The Capital-Journal

Jim Abel is on his third career, having transitioned from corporate executive to stay-at-home dad to singer-songwriter.

The Leawood-based musician who performs at 8 p.m. today at the Celtic Fox, 118 S.W. 8th, was a hospital holding company's vice president when he decided to quit working outside of the home in order to take care of his young son.

However, now that his son is getting ready for his third year at the University of Kansas, Abel said: "I have more time. Being a stay-at-home father isn't quite as big a deal when your son is off at KU."

That has enabled Abel to "focus on the songwriting and the singing," which he said were things he has been interested in his entire life.

He has performed since he was high school and written songs since college, "but I never had time to get out and look for the bookings and pursue it very actively as I have the last three or four years."

Abel considers himself a born-again "hippie with stories to tell."

Although Abel performs a lot at bookstores and coffeehouses, he is at home at other venues, too, he said.

"I guess I'm different from a lot of other singer-songwriters in that I have a wide variety of styles," Abel said.

Jim Abel playing outdoors
photo by Martha Gershun

In coffeehouses and similar venues, Abel said he plays more contemplative songs, "more love songs," "more songs out of the Great American Songbook."

"But I also play in bars," he said. "So when I play there, I can play some stuff that's more up-tempo."

"I can also plays stuff that's a little more bawdy, a little more risqué that I wouldn't play at a Starbucks," he added.

"I really play the range, but it's all acoustic. Me and my guitar is my act," said Abel, who currently is doing gigs in support of his latest CD, "Thunder," which was released May 27 and is on sale at www.cdbaby.com/jimabel.

Abel said "Thunder" is his best-produced CD to date, with its sound engineer coming from the well-known Kansas City, Mo., band, The Elders.

You also can sample Abel's music at www.myspace.com/jimabel, where you can purchase tracks to download.

"I really consider myself more of a songwriter than a singer," Abel said. "I sing because I enjoy it, but largely it's a way to be a better songwriter."

"I sound a bit like the guy at the next campfire at your favorite music festival," he said.

Bill Blankenship can be reached at (785) 295-1284 or bill.blankenship@cjonline.com.


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