Singer-songwriter / indie rock artist Fred Abong presents ‘My Way’, the second singe from his forthcoming ‘Fear Pageant’ album, slated for release in late summer via Seattle-based label Disc Drive. Earlier, Abong released the record’s lead track ‘Father’.
This is Abong’s seventh album (most were self-released, as were his two EPs), following up his ‘Yellowthroat’ album, released in mid-2022 and recorded together with Rob Ahlers (50FOOTWAVE, Kristin Hersh Electric Trio). On this release, Abong – a Filipino-American alternative singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist – upholds his reputation for creating a blend of “ragged Replacements and lyric-driven Bob Dylan” and as “Elliott Smith with balls”.
A musical and geographical wanderer, he grew up in the Northeast, has lived in Southern California, and currently calls New Orleans home. His songs are existentially and romantically focused, poetic, and slightly off-kilter. Detuned guitars, unconventional song structures, and a raw and unpolished production aesthetic characterize the overall sound. Fred’s hypnotic, sometimes gravelly voice adds to the effect.
“Unlike the Sinatra song of the same name, this is not a manifesto of self-determination or a reflection on individualism and world-beating fearlessness. It’s also not a send-up of that attitude or sentiment. My ‘My Way’ is, accidentally, closer to the subject matter (but not the sentiment) of the original French version of the Sinatra song. In the French version, of which I only recently became aware, the gradual erosion of marriage and love by the crushing boredom of mundane life is the focus,” says Fred Abong.
“While I may be able to relate to both versions on some level, they were neither the inspiration nor the reference for my song. That said, ‘My Way’ is definitely a kind of self-portrait and a meditation on love and marriage. But it is not triumphant or regretful. It’s more about the mixing of romance and resignation than anything else. It also recognizes the omnipresence of death, both physical and spiritual. And it explores the longing, conscious or unconscious, for wholeness and ‘completion’ present in intimate relationships. Given that these things are universal, I probably should’ve called the song ‘The Way’ rather than ‘My Way’. You can call it that if you want.”
Getting his musical start in 1980’s Rhode Island as a drummer, bassist and guitarist in an array of hardcore punk bands, Abong spent the early 1990s playing bass for Throwing Muses and then Belly. He then put music as a profession on hold for academic pursuits, earning a PhD in Humanities and serving as a professor at various universities for eight years before returning to music.
Continuing to write songs as a solo artist, Abong’s music has a raw and unpolished production aesthetic with an overall direct, though deceptively imaginative and oblique, presentation. Apart from his work as a solo artist, Fred Abong is also currently bassist in the Kristin Hersh Electric Trio and has also been a practicing Vedic astrologer for the past 20 plus years.
‘My Way’ is available from fine music platforms, including Bandcamp, where his ‘Yellowthroat’ record is also available in all formats. The full ‘Fear Pageant’ album will be released (digitally and on vinyl) on July 20.
Music and lyrics by Fred Abong
All songs recorded, mixed and performed by Fred Abong
All instruments by Fred Abong
Mastered by Fred Thomas
1 . Father
2 . Half Wit, 3. Fear Pageant
4 . Hungry Ghost
5 . Bats
6 . America 808
7 . My Way
8 . Shadows
9 . Reservoirs
10 . Sailor