The NEPA Creative Series: Scott Township musician pushes bass boundaries
Abby Vail, of Scott Township, is the 42nd #NEPACreative. She brings creativity to the area through her work as a solo bassist. Abby loves to challenge herself to do the things with her instrument that she once thought were impossible.
“I started playing bass about 10 years ago, but I just started working on solo bass material and performing as a soloist last year,” Vail explained. “I fell in love with the instrument the moment I first heard the song “My Name is Mud” by Primus. Ever since then, I’ve never had a stronger desire to continue to grow and be good at something. Having a bass in my hands feels like home to me no matter where I am and I love that.”
Abby pulls inspiration from many things in everyday life, whether it be something one of her kids said that makes her think differently or a struggle she is having that tugs at her to be translated through music. Although, Abby has been inspired by three people in particular that really motivate her to create.
“Les Claypool is the bassist that first inspired me to even pick up a bass. I looked up to him since the very beginning and have collected a vast majority of his work because I love his unique point of view and sound. Buckethead is the second notable inspiration because he plays his life through music and I’ve always been able to feel that. He recorded a record while laying in bed the day after having heart surgery because he wanted to ‘play the experience.’ If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is.
“I feel emotionally attached to him without knowing him because he plays with such emotion and I’ve been a direct recipient of it. Especially as an instrumentalist, what I take from him is the desire to play my feelings when I’m feeling them and letting my songs speak for themselves.
“Last but not least, I am heavily inspired by local bassist Grant Williams. Before meeting him, I didn’t see being a solo bassist as a tangible option for me. I wanted to do it, but didn’t think it was possible. Not only did he open my eyes to the possibility, but he also continuously provides me with encouragement, positivity, advice, and sets an example of what I want to strive for as a bassist. He certainly keeps me on my toes and I couldn’t be any more thankful for that.”
If Abby could play with any artist, it would be Les Claypool. She has daydreamed about that scenario for years. Since he’s responsible for her initial interest in bass, it was an easy choice. She would love to be a part of anything he does.
To Abby, being creative means having a passion, learning the groundwork, then trying your best to do something new with it.
“We can’t all be innovators, but we will all have our own way of doing something,” she said.
Abby would love to have her first solo album out next year for everyone to groove along to so be sure to keep an eye out.
When being considered as an NEPA Creative, individuals are asked to explain how they bring creativity to the area, how long they have been doing it and why, and finally what being creative means to them. Once chosen, the next step is to bring each creative into CoalCreative’s studio space to be filmed for a 60 second video that is shared every Wednesday across all their social media platforms. The series plans to highlight all sorts of creatives throughout the rest of the year. There are no limits to who could be considered. Photographers, musicians, barbers, magicians, and improv artists are just a handful of the submissions CoalCreative has received thus far.
To be considered for the series, submit a consideration form at www.coalcreative.com/are-you-a-nepa-creative or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.