Posted by: Abe's Blog | July 21, 2011

Relay for Life Benefit Piano

In explanation of the CD below: I played an improv solo piano concert to benefit Relay for Life – American Cancer Society. The concert was recorded and the following CD contains music from this show. A portion of each sale will be donated to Relay for Life.

Posted by: Abe's Blog | June 17, 2011

A Major Announcement

My solo piano CD, Ready to Wait, is now available for sale on CD Baby! Customers can purchase either a physical CD or can buy as a digital download. You may also purchase on my website, .

The journey is still progressing, and will be doing so until I draw my final breath. A neighbor of the studio gave me a piano that had been sitting in a woodshop, filling with sawdust. I just had a piano tuner come over and work his magic and now this ancient beast is ready to make some beautiful sounds. The piano is a M. Schulz Chicago, built approximately 1915. Did I mention it was free? Yeah. Free. Here is an impromptu video immediately following the tuning and prior to removing a studio wall to get it inside:

Posted by: Abe's Blog | June 6, 2011

Tornado Benefit Gospel Concert

My presence in the blogosphere has been lacking as I have been focusing my energy on music for the past few months. Recently, the devestation in the Southern US caused by the tornados and floods moved me to put together a benefit gospel concert to raise money for victims of these events. Saturday night we held our concert in a beautiful building in Roseburg, Oregon.

I was excited about this event for many reasons, one being this would be the first time in many years that I would be playing with a full band and the first time ever performing with female vocalists helping. One of these ladies happens to be my wife. She has a world-class voice. In the video I’ve posted below, she is singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. The audience was moved to tears by this performance.

The concert was a success. A modest crowd of approximately 50 people donated over $700 to the cause! I was happy to be able to sell some of my solo piano CD’s as well. What an incredible evening.

Posted by: Abe's Blog | May 7, 2011

Benefit for Tornado and Flood Victims!

I watched the short-lived coverage of the devastation in the South with horror and pain. I say “sort-lived” because the story quickly became eclipsed by the capture and death of UBL. Now I hear that many of these same areas and nearby areas are being hammered by flooding. More destruction. More pain.

I was struck not only by the total and complete devastation in the path of these tornadoes, but also by the poverty, the pain, and the loss of hope that I saw on the faces of many.

I wanted to do something.

As many of you know, I have begun to have many doors open in the area of gospel music. I have determined that this will be my path. And I want to use it to benefit those who most need help.

In light of this, I have decided to hold a Tornado Disaster Relief Gospel concert with the proceeds of the show going to aid victims through World Vision’s Disaster Relief fund. The concert will be held on June 4th in Roseburg, Oregon. Details are on my website

Also on my website is a donation button. This will be a free concert, but donations will be accepted in lieu of ticket fees. We are also accepting donations pre-concert to cover facility and promotional fees. If you are able and feel so inclined, please consider donating to this worthy cause!

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!

Posted by: Abe's Blog | April 21, 2011

Abe on the Radio!

What’s that, you say? What? Huh? Wha… Okay, stop saying that. It’s true. I am going to be on the radio on Winston, Oregon’s KGRV AM 700 for a live on-air gospel concert. I will be doing three original songs and will be opening for international recording artist Linda Lanier . How cool is that, you ask? Well… it’s pretty darn cool.

As you may or may not have noticed, I have not been posting my highly intelligent and thought-provoking blogs for awhile (neither have I been posting my dull and uninspired ones). Well, that is because I have been busy playing music. A few months ago, God turned a light-bulb on in my head. It kind of sounded like this, “Click. Testing. TESTING! Anyone in there?” I was listening at the time, so I heard the message, which was to go forth and play some gospel music! “Why hang around waiting for something to happen? Take a step and move forward. I will open the doors.” This was facilitated by a fellow musician friend of mine asking if I would play in a gospel-themed venue with him. And the doors began to open.

I am pretty excited about this (if you can’t tell. I even used exclamation marks! ! ) and am even more excited to see where this is all going. Who can tell, perhaps you will be hearing me on a station near you?

Details for this and other events will be updated to my “official” website:

Local readers, please keep your eyes and ears peeled for a coming event on June 4th. Details will be forthcoming!

Thank you for reading!

Posted by: Abe's Blog | March 16, 2011

People Get Ready – A Video Post

In 1986, I was a young and handsome pup with flowing locks, a comb in my pocket, and a can of Aqua Net in my hair. So many events were compressed into this year that even now it seems that so much more than just ONE year happened. Among the highlights of 1986:
– I turned 16
– I got my driver’s license
– My parents got divorced
– I crashed at least one car
– I went off the deep end
– My emotions flat-lined
– I joined my first band

I was briefly a member of a fantasy-metal (remember that term?) band called, appropriately enough, Fantasia. Awesome? Yes. I had to audition. The lead guitarist and the bass player came over to my house and listened to me play the piano. Then they told me I was “in”. Awesome? Totally. We went into the studio, a most incredible and rare experience in a small town in the ’80’s, and I laid down some keyboard tracks and back-up vocals on a song called “Young and in Love”. The lead singer was a screamer! Man, could he wail. They handed me a mix on cassette of the song and I played it for 24 hour straight. Then I settled in to wait for stardom. Or for our big concert. Or…for at least a practice session. It didn’t happen.

Music industry lesson 1: The “Biz” is filled with Talkers. The do-ers are harder to find.

My second band experience was much more fulfilling. The bass player’s parents had a large bar band and we got to use their practice studio, instruments, and music sheets. We chose from songs that we thought we could learn. Our group ranged in age from 15 – 17 years-old and we learned mainly old classics, “Old Time Rock’n’Roll”, “Johnny B. Good”, and my favorite, “People Get Ready”.  I will never forget our first gig – the Christmas Party at a Red Vue Inn Lounge in Grants Pass. Being teens, they let us in to play and gave us non-alcoholic Pina Colladas to drink. We were nervous and ran through our whole set in about 30 minutes. They didn’t care. They told us, “Play it again!”

The years have passed and we’ve gone our separate ways. A few of us have reconnected thanks to the ‘net. The drummer, Erik Truelove, is a successful musician in Arizona. See his website here: and though my only use for Aqua Net hairspray now is to burn out Yellow Jackets from their nests, I still love to play and sing “People Get Ready”. I was playing in the studio the other day and recorded this little tid-bit:

Posted by: Abe's Blog | March 12, 2011

Down In The River – An Audio Post

I have an important announcement to make. I have a new website. I would like a drum roll please. And now, a trumpet fanfare. And… a trombone solo. Nice! Thank you. Here’s the address:

I will be posting more information to the new website, including upcoming performance events. I am excited about the things are happening and am thankful for all of it!

Tonight I recorded a practice session, learning Allison Kraus’s “Down in the River to Pray” from Oh Brother Where Art Thou. Here’s the file:


Posted by: Abe's Blog | March 10, 2011

Old School – An Audio Post

Tenmile Community United Methodist Church, est. 1857

I have had a dream for a hundred years. Or maybe it has only been 20 or 30 … I can’t keep track. But my dream has been to once again share my music with live audiences. In recent years, some doors have begun to open for me, especially in the gospel music scene. A friend and fellow performer has invited me to play and sing at an upcoming event in a country church built in 1857.  

In preparing for this concert, I have been learning some of the old hymns. As a young man, I thought that I disliked this music. But, with the onset of early middle-age, I find that I was wrong; I love these old songs! I was learning one today and decided to record it in the studio. This is “My Jesus I Love Thee”:

Posted by: Abe's Blog | March 2, 2011

Welcome to the Umpqua Valley – An Audio Post

A couple of years ago, the great State of Oregon celebrated its 150th birthday. In preparation for the event, many local communities worked to develop their own celebrations and to stir up interest in area history. Local writer Ron Bolt was one of those involved with the Umpqua area region. He approached me with a songwriting project. He had written the lyrics and needed musical arrangement. I happily accepted, arranged the music, and recorded a demo with my son Abram Mantle on acoustic guitar and myself singing vocals.

The song is called Welcome to the Umpqua Valley and you can hear it here:

The Umpqua Valley is a beautiful land. Here in the Pacific Northwest, regions are typically defined by waterways. The Umpqua River defines our region, seeping underground from the great and fallen Mount Mazama, known now as Crater Lake, flowing down the west side of the Cascade Mountain range through stunning canyons, then meandering through the forest and fields of the lower valleys before once again piercing a mountain range to reach the Pacific Ocean. It is an inspiring and awesome place with vast wild places and a hardy and diverse population with a culture all our own.

Much of this area still remains as it was over 100 years ago when rugged and hardy souls came over the mountains on rough trails seeking freedom and fortune. Ron’s song presents a snapshot of such a journey.

Find more on Ron Bolt by visiting his website:

I really enjoyed this project and love to work with writers to develop their lyrics into song form. If you are a songwriter who is interested in having music arranged and recorded for your lyrics, please let me know!

Posted by: Abe's Blog | February 9, 2011

Dear Kiddies: Communism Bad. Freedom Good.

A recent statement by a young man blew me away. The young man is my 21 year-old son and I love him dearly. It is possible that he may read this blog and my intent is not to embarrass him. I mean only to attempt to correct the misinformation that is apparently being taught to our young. He and I were discussing a movie that he had watched about Che Guevara and I was asking him questions about how Che was portrayed. I pointed out that Che helped form a communist regime and my son said, “Yeah, but communism isn’t bad. It just hasn’t been done right yet.” I was quiet for a moment, thinking about his comment. I told him that I couldn’t believe he would say such a thing and I began to think about where he would have gotten this idea.

This thought process opened my eyes. The more I have mulled this over and have observed what is happening around me, the more I am astounded at the way that an alternate history is being foisted on our young. I have taken for granted that we as a nation understand and appreciate the freedom that we have and would never seek to throw it away. After all, countless lives were given in the protection of ours and of other great and free societies – lives that were given to protect us from tyranny and oppression.

But it seems our youth may be fed another tale and that the lessons from the past and certain realities of the present are being colored a distinctly rosy hue. Let me summarize before I expound:
Communism is bad.
Freedom is good.

Just as the pigs in the Orwell’s Animal Farm painted their manifesto upon the barn wall, the above phrases should be scratched into the chalkboards of our schools. As in the story portrayed by Orwell, the utopian ideal sounds delightful to some: “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”. Delightful. Unless you are one of those who likes to make your own choices. Then this would be hell.

And hell it has been. The death toll from communism is staggering. As exact numbers are impossible to come by, estimates vary but it is estimated that 100,000,000 people have been killed directly by communism. 100 million. Dead. Another 30,000,000 more have been killed in wars and rebellions sparked by the leaders of these regimes.

Lies and Oppression
In our free society, if we do not like the government, we can march in protest, vote in free elections, run for government positions ourselves, and hold debates in the open. This is freedom. Freedom is good. In communist regimes, disagreement is not and cannot be tolerated. It is silenced and the silence is brutal. Individuals are silenced by imprisonment, forced labor, or death. The myth that these are wonderful and happy societies is totally false. One need look no further than the walls that hold in the populace of those countries who still continue to keep this dying ideology alive.

In communist societies, dissenters are imprisoned and beaten. China is a current example. This morning I saw an ad made by China to entice America to do more business with China. It showed happy people smiling and talked about how great China was. It did not show the people who are imprisoned and beaten and killed for “inciting subversion of state power”. That is real. Communism is bad. One need only ask a person who has fled such a country.

Che is NOT Cool
In fact, Ernesto “Che” Guevaro was a thug and a killer who worked to enslave Cuba. Just ask someone who lived through it. How he became an icon for cool, I will never know. Che bragged to the United Nations, “We do executions…and we will continue to do executions.” And execute they did. A significant percentage of the male population was imprisoned and executed. Che had a portion of his office wall removed so he could watch the executions. Che was a nasty jerk and a communist. Che is bad.

Mao Was Evil
In 1949, Mao tse-Tung became the head of the 1st Chairman of the Communist Party of China. Prior to that he led an army that killed 180,000 citizens of China, torturing many. About his glorious leadership as Chairman Mao, one source puts it this way:

There can be no doubt that this period destroyed the economy of China and directly contributed to the deaths of millions on top of the estimated five million executed in death camps. But the greatest loss of life under Mao came during the next period 1958-1962 under the perverse name “Great Leap Forward” in which Mao – convinced of his own academic brilliance – forced insane, untested work and farming practices upon the Chinese people causing the deaths of up to 72 millions of innocent peasants – making Mao the single greatest mass murderer in human history.” (One-Evil.Org)

Mao was bad. North Korea carries on the great tradition behind their silent walls, led by the notoriously poor-dressing Kim Jong-il, whose 9,000,000 body death count recently garnered him status as one of the most evil men alive.

Are We Done Yet?
Yes. And thankfully, communism is almost dead as well. Only 5 countries exist that still follow the communist ideal, and two of those–China and Viet Nam–have begun to move towards a form of Nationalism, allowing them to take advantage of Capitalism.

I have intentionally stayed away from discussions of politics in my WordPress blog. I believe that what I have written here is non-partisan and I hope that it strikes a chord in someone. I have written what I only assumed we all knew… but as I have seen, there are some who are being led down a different path in history. Let us seek the truth, regardless of how ugly it may be.

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