New Orleans-based alternative folk-rock artist Fred Abong presents the single ‘Shadows’ from his latest ‘Fear Pageant’ album, recently released via Seattle label Disc Drive. This is Abong’s seventh long-player to date.

Shadows, swans, and spooky trees. An aged romantic lip syncing poorly. Carnival organs, distorted steel drums, and cheesy synth piano. Dramatic black and white footage. Understated color splashes and expert frame dissolves. This video has it all.

Fred Abong got his musical start in the 1980’s on the Rhode Island hardcore punk scene. In the early 1990s, he played bass for Throwing Muses and then Belly. Putting music on hold for academic pursuits, he then earned a PhD in Humanities and taught at various universities for eight years before returning to music. Now back as a solo artist, Abong also plays bass in the Kristin Hersh Electric Trio.

A Filipino-American singer-songwriter, Abong’s music has a raw and unpolished production aesthetic with an overall direct, though deceptively imaginative and oblique, presentation. Abong has also been a practicing Vedic astrologer for the past 20 plus years.

“Shadows came into being in much the same way as all my songs do … via a set of strong images or vignettes that flood into my head in response to a piece of music I’ve written,” says Fred Abong.

“I mentioned that the song makes me want to slow dance with my woman. This is exactly what I was seeing when I first laid down the arpeggiated chord progression that constitutes the beginning of the song … that and her lovely silhouette dappling every surface in the room. Those images gave way to Homeric scenes, something like Odysseus returning to Penelope after the Trojan War. A sense of triumph is the idea, though in this case not over armed conflict, but over a long and bloody war of the heart. Prayers of gratitude are in order.”

Creating music that is a blend of “ragged Replacements and lyric-driven Bob Dylan” and “Elliott Smith with balls”, 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.

Shadows is kind of the sleeper track on Fear Pageant, if you ask me. Blatantly and unapologetically romantic, it feels to me like Kenny G meets Leonard Cohen. It borders on, but never crosses into, total cheesiness. At least, I don’t think it does. But you will have to be the judge of that. In any case, the song makes me want to slow dance with my lady … I hope you find yourself in a similar state when you hear it,” says Fred Abong.

Abong earlier teased several tracks from the album, including ‘Father’, ‘My Way’ and ‘Fear Pageant’. This new record follows Abong’s ‘Yellowthroat’ album, released in 2022 and recorded with Rob Ahlers (50FOOTWAVE, Kristin Hersh Electric Trio) and earlier albums ‘Homeless’, ‘Pulsing’ and ‘OMOPH’.

The ‘Fear Pageant’ album is out now and available across fine music platforms, including Bandcamp. The record is available on vinyl or as a digital download.

Music and lyrics by Fred Abong
All songs recorded, mixed and performed by Fred Abong
All instruments by Fred Abong
Mastered by Fred Thomas
Videos by Fred Abong
Publicity by Shameless Promotion PR

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