An ‘Ordinary Fool’ Abbe Rivers performs at festival Sept. 21, new album

In Ordinary Fool, Hoboken resident and singer/songwriter Abbe Rivers captures a new classic rock vibe that has been missing for quite a while. She invites the listener on a journey of estranged musical elements to explore new frontiers in melodies and acoustics.Fool is Rivers’ first full-length record. Produced by Spyro Gyra’s Julio Fernandez, it is a unique compilation of soft edgy fusion rock and sing-along tunes. Rivers will perform at the city’s Arts and Music Festival on Sept. 21. We recently caught up with her.

EM – Where are you from?

AR – I’m from East Flatbush, Brooklyn; the glamour spot of the world.

EM – Who are your influences?

AR – I grew up listening to AM radio as a kid so I loved a huge mix of everything: Three Dog Night, The Jackson Five (before Michael’s voice changed), Elton John, Marvin Gaye and countless one hit wonders. Classic ’70s pop. When I got a little older, I discovered FM radio which changed my life: The Who, Hendrix, Joplin, Cream, Aretha, The Stones, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, the Beatles; but the more obscure stuff, not the same tired hits that we now know as "classic rock." Those are most of my early influences.
EM – Why did you become a musician?

AR – I don’t think I ever "became" a musician. I’m singing since I could walk and picked up a guitar when I was 11 and pretty much taught myself. Never thought twice about it. It’s what I do. It’s part of who I am.

EM – Where have you performed?

AR – I’ve performed all over the New York City area over the years. Big clubs, small clubs, theaters and tents, piers and gazebos, schools and parks.

EM – What is your favorite day of the week?

AR – My favorite day of the week is Tuesday. I guess because it’s a good night to go out and see live music and shows without having to deal with a whole lot of riff-raff and amateurs (not to mention not waiting at cool restaurants!)
EM – What are the last three CDs you bought?

AR – The last three CDs I bought were Lucinda Williams’ World Without Tears, Ben Harper’s Diamonds on the Inside and The Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.
EM – How would you describe your music?

AR -Describing my music is always the toughest thing for me. It comes from so many places and the song styles vary so much. It’s certainly rock and it’s sometimes bluesy, always bold, usually gritty, sad, funky and emotional. It’s been described as warm honey with crunchy bits.

EM – Are you looking for mainstream exposure?

AR – I would love some mainstream exposure.

EM – What professional plans do you have for the future?

AR – I usually can’t see any further than a month at a time. Next Tuesday looks real good. I’ll also be playing at the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival on Sunday and at Maxwell’s on Tuesday (I told you I like Tuesdays!) Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. My good friends Bonbomb play at 9 p.m.

EM – What is the best part about your job?

AR – The best part of my job here at the Empire Coffee and Tea shop has got to be all the amazing people I’ve met over the years. Hoboken has been very good to me.

Rivers will perform at the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival on Sept. 21 at 3 p.m. on the Sixth Street stage. She will also perform at Maxwell’s at 1039 Washington St. in Hoboken on Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $6. For information call (201) 653-1703 or visit q


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