Music is the most tangible connection man has to the ethereal. Napoleon said that music is proof that mankind is greater than it knows. Einstein said that if he wasn’t a scientist, he’d most likely be a musician and that he sees the world in terms of music. Tolkien wrote that the Lord of the Rings universe began as “great music” sung by the equivalent of god and the angels. Seriously. It’s the first chapter of The Silmarillion. So yeah, music’s important.
I am straight up in love with music that I’m passionate about. The right notes trigger an emotional response out of me. Hearing “Stairway to Heaven” for the thousandth time on the radio still invokes that feeling. Music is supposed to make you feel something. It feels especially good when you find real, homegrown talent. I’m talking about honest-to-god, genuinely good original local bands. Rhode Island is home to original acts that restore faith in the local scene, one of which is Able Thought.
Able Thought is a one-man band that ReverbNation describes as “alternative/lo-fi/chillwave,” which is a decent, loose description of the music. As I’m writing this and listening to the track “Places,” rain is pouring and the skies are a limbo of endless gray. The music is setting the ambiance, with reverberating acoustic guitars and a laid back drum beat creating the foundation for atmospheric lyrics such as “you only exist in dreams and memories.”
The music suits slow mornings over a cup of coffee, but in a live setting will make you stop and take note of it. It’s kind of mellow but has an edge to it.
When asked if the genre labels fit his music, Able says, “No! Music is really complex, man, and there is so much of it. Having to define and categorize yourself is one of the hardest things to do for any independent artist. That said, getting hung up on that end of things can take away from your creativity. According to him, “There are times to release your inner rebel and then times to just not put up such a struggle. I feel like the marketing end is just one of those places to just go with it so you can get your music in front of people who might understand it.”
It’s especially difficult if you’re a one-man band, which Able is. “I do all my own recordings myself,” he says. “This is where I release my inner rebel... The new record was recorded live. No overdubs or anything. I am actually playing it all with a loop pedal I’m controlling with my feet, my guitar and singing. This is usually a big no no to a lot of producers but I find that’s how I get my best performance and the best sonic quality. If it sounds good, it is good. Doesn’t matter how you do it.”
Able Thought performs about once a month, and has played at venues such as Dusk in Providence and Wing’N It in Bristol. Currently he has one gig set for January (in Portland, ME), but he says there are more local shows in the works, as a tour is being prepared to support the new “serene In Limbo” album that was released in December. “I love touring,” Able says. “It’s one of the best parts of the job. I get to see all my friends that are scattered about the country.”