Alabama Astronaut is a podcast featuring Alabama songwriter & artist Abe Partridge. Abe discovers a set of undocumented songs in the hills of the Appalachians, and believes they are undocumented because of the subject matter: lyrics that speak of the consumption of poison, and the handling of venomous snakes. These are the songs of the serpent handlers. To capture their music, Abe must first capture the hearts and the minds of the people who wrote it...and in the process, they capture his.
In the spirit of John and Alan Lomax, Abe Partridge embarks upon a quest to capture the undocumented songs of the serpent handlers.
Abe meets serpent handling preacher Jamie Coots on a chance encounter in 2006, while pastoring a church in Middlesboro, Ky. Years later, while touring in Oregon, Abe hears a song by Alabama songwriter Will Stewart called "Brush Arbor" which sparks Abe's interest in the serpent handling faith.
"It's Alright With Me, Lord, if It's Alright With You"
Abe visits the home of fourth-generation serpent handler Cody Coots, along with Cody's wife, Cassy, to capture generations-old songs from the duo's live performances on his Sony handheld recorder.
"Little David, Play On Your Harp!"
Abe visits legendary serpent-handling church "Old Rockhouse Holiness" in Section, Alabama – a church that once inspired author Dennis Covington to write a popular book, Salvation on Sand Mountain.
"Preach the Word, Preacher Man!"
Abe visits the home of Pastor Jimmy Morrow, in Cocke County, Tennessee, to learn about serpent handling, and to ask Jimmy and his wife Pam if they might sing songs into his handheld recorder.
"Jesus Made the World"
Abe and host Ferrill Gibbs meet in person in Birmingham, Alabama, to transport a load of recording equipment to Middlesboro, Kentucky, where they will make a studio album of Cody and Cassy Coots singing songs of their faith.
Church this week
This was nourishing and beautiful. Thank you for making it.
Slang those snakes, in Jesus name Amen.
Besides being obsessed with Abe’s music and art, I love this podcast. I am a Mountain Momma in WV raised in the coalfields and Baptist Church. There was a snake handling church near my Mamaw and Papaws house in Sarah Ann, WV. I was always intrigued by that small portion of the Bible that they created a whole religion out of. My great grandmother was a preacher, everyone in the congregation spoke in tongues, music and a whole band was the driving force of church besides the love of the lord. All my uncles were coal miners and preachers, the AH-HA preachers. I just always thought it was the way they could catch their breath. Hearing all of these story’s bring back so many memories. Thanks Abe.
Come back and play in our barn. We, the frogs and crickets miss you.
I cannot put into words how much I love this podcast. It has changed my life!