Abby the Spoon Lady is steeped in Americana


The Spoon Lady, aka Abby Roach, and her longtime musical collaborator Chris Rodrigues are perennially popular buskers on the streets of Asheville, but recent weather hasn’t been conducive to playing on chilly sideways or stopping to listen.

Chris Rodriques and Abby the Spoon Lady specialize in the kind of music made before and after Word War II.

Fortunately, Abby and Rodrigues will bring their infectious vintage Americana  indoors to the cozy confines of White Horse Black Mountain on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. Concertgoers will also be treated to a healthy helping of fascinating stories from Abby's life on the road, running the gamut from hilarious to poignant and even hair-raising. Tickets are $12 advance/$15 door.

The life story of Abby the Spoon Lady reads like something out of America’s fabled folk mythology. Abby rode the rails and hitchhiked across the country as a young woman, picking up songs and stories along the hobo road and learning to play the spoons as way of earning some survival money. Discovering that she had a rare talent for the rhythmic utensils and a knack for drawing and holding an audience, she traveled throughout the 48 contiguous states, busking wherever an opportunity presented itself. Those years of experience have opened doors to recording, radio commentary and an enthusiastic internet following.

The world of full-time professional virtuoso spoon players ("spoonologists" in Spoon Lady parlance) is not a large one, and Abby estimates she may be one of perhaps five people in the world doing what she does. She specializes in American music from the 1920s, including blues, jug band and old-time tunes.

In the versatile and charismatic Chris Rodrigues (guitar, vocals, harmonica, foot percussion), she’s found a musical foil for her journey through vintage Americana, creating a memorable aural and visual experience with the flash of lightning fast spoons and a deep feeling for the music. 

  Having played on the streets of many cities, she and Rodriguez considers Asheville a gem, although they worry that the increased sidewalk congestion that comes with tourist crowds could change the ambiance. The city is also fond of Abby, with the MountainX Best of WNC Awards having awarded her the number one spot in the Favorite Busker/Street Group category.