My name is Abby and I’m a spoon player. I’m not fancy, I’ve just learned to puff my chest out a bit. Through a series of miscellaneous circumstances, I have come to be known as the “Spoon Lady” and I’ve enjoyed the ride. I presently book and perform with my buddy Chris Rodrigues, a one-man band and street performer here in Asheville, North Carolina. We both enjoy playing in various venues, but mostly enjoy street performing. It grounds you, reminds you why you are playing music. Playing music on the street creates opportunities for folks to experience things that they perhaps otherwise wouldn’t, such as a professional spoon player, a one-man band, a human statue, or other performances and genres of music outside of the everyday realm of the everyday person.
Street performance teaches you to become a sharp people watcher. The reactions we receive are varied and entertaining. Children dancing, people of all ages and walks of life, artists and art lovers all gather around, creating a moment of community on the sidewalk. When the crowds on the street are full, it feels very similar to being wrapped in energy, protected in your own little world. I use the bells at my feet to “talk” to the crowd, and I love to make funny faces. I have the best job ever.
I am lucky enough to be playing music with my best friend Chris Rodrigues. I first met him in Asheville, street performing on the sidewalk. In Asheville, the performers take two-hour turns on some of the most popular spots. I have played with many musicians and groups before, and I would wait near him while he performed, waiting for my turn, and vice versa. Eventually, as fate would have it, we would play a set of music together. We are both hoping to play together for a long time.
I fell into both street performance and spoon playing when I started backpacking around the United States. I became obsessed with folk rhythm and culture, and the stories surrounding. I lugged around notebooks of handwritten stories and random digital cameras. I hitchhiked and rode freight trains around all 48 of the main states, figuring it out as I went. Playing spoons seemed like the best way to fund myself around the country. Another traveler taught me how to hold the spoons and run them down my fingers, and I taught myself from there. We host storytelling nights from time to time where we talk a bit about modern hobo culture and the music that surrounds it. Keep checking our calendar for upcoming storytelling dates, these events often sell out quickly.
ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
Eventually, I found myself in Asheville, NC, which to some would be no surprise. Asheville has always been a mecca for arts and culture. Street performing in Asheville is a special thing, and the street performance scene is massively rich here. In 2014 the Asheville Buskers Collective was formed to help promote and keep street performing legal in the Asheville, North Carolina area. I am happy to be the acting President and honored to represent our busking culture to the government and public.
Part of my activism includes hosting a radio show on Asheville FM 103.3 – Sundays 11:00 am – 1:00 pm EST – called Busker Broadcast. Busker Broadcast is a radio show that centers around street performance nationwide, and in particular, the Asheville, NC area.