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.
Thanks for paying attention to a long neglected American subculture and the art it has been creating for 250 years.
I haven’t had a podcast affect me in such a deep way like Alabama Astronaut did. You get taken in an authentic modern day spiritual journey which gives you space for open, inner reflection. Loved it. It reminded me that people matter and conversations are important and every person not only has value but has the power to change you. Unbelievable job.
Focus the Story
Guy has a great story to tell but allows his personal issues to get in the way for prolonged personal therapy sessions. Result is unlistenable for me.