Abby the Spoon Lady

Abby the Spoon Lady Biography
Brandycharlynn [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Abby the Spoon Lady Biography

Abby Roach (October 29, 1981) Born in Wichita, Kansas, United States. Percussionist, spoon player and American storyteller, considered one of the best-known street performers of recent times. After learning to play the spoons while touring the United States by train, Abby began her career performing country-style and folk songs in Nashville. When she settled in Asheville in 2013, she met the band man, Chris Rodrigues, who has been her musical partner since then. They rose to fame in 2017 after the video of their song Angels in Heaven went viral on Facebook and other social networks. Abby is currently one of the most respected activists in the music field for her work with the Buskers collective in Asheville.



Abby was adopted by the president of Rage Inc, Dale Roach and his wife Cindy Roach. Abby has as brothers a pianist and the guitarist of the rock band Senses Fail, Zack Roach. She grew up in a good neighborhood and studied in private schools, as her parents could afford this type of training. She had a happy childhood, and everything was going well until she became pregnant with her boyfriend in high school, which is why she had to leave school and take the GED shortly after having her first child.


Personal life and beginnings

Married at eighteen and living in a trailer in Wichita, Abby got a job as a forklift operator and later as an administrative assistant. At that time the problems began to arise between the couple because her husband was an aggressive man and with various convictions for robbery began to leave home. In 2001, she had her second baby, a girl, who arrived at the time when the marriage was going through its most stable stage, at that time her husband beat her frequently, getting to inflict serious wounds and break several of her teeth. When observing this situation her parents suggest leaving her two children under their care, a proposal that she accepted, because she knew that she could not take care of them properly.

After giving up the last children she had with her husband in 2004 and 2005, she decided to leave the city and find a place to start again. At age 25 she left Kansas and settled for a short time in Colorado, where she began her life of travel on trains and stays in the streets and abandoned houses. After spending several nights in a tent, she met a group of young tramps and backpackers, who taught her to survive alone and travel by train. She quickly learned strategies to travel and live on trains, her only problem was money, for a time she asked for money on the streets, but determined not to live on charity, she looked for a way to earn it honestly.

It was at that time that she learned to play the spoons with the help of her then travel companion, Gil, a Peruvian artist who knew how to touch the spoons. He taught her with a couple of spoons that he had on hand how to hold them and produce sounds with them, she practiced for several hours and soon knew how to handle them. The next day she got her spoons, as some children of the group stole them to give them as a gift. With her instrument, she began to practice and improve her skills progressively. When she felt ready she began performing in the streets of New Orleans, San Francisco and later moved to Nashville, where she began to become known as a street artist.


Abby the Spoon Lady’s Career

After becoming known in Nashville and gathering for the first time an audience that interested her in her unique style and sounds inspired by country and folk music, Abby decided to move to Asheville, a city located in western North Carolina, where she felt she should stay. Something from the acclaimed city attracted her, so she decided to establish it in June 2013. That same year she began to be known in the streets as a professional street artist, with her characteristic sound that caught the attention of the inhabitants and tourists who walked in the holiday seasons.

While playing in the streets she met another artist who was also known in the city for his talent and skill, this was Chris Rodrigues, the band man. After playing on some occasions together they decided to work together because they earned more money and attracted more public attention. It should be mentioned that at that time the artists earned little money, the money they needed to survive and that was all. Without many needs and with personalities in order, the two were artistically complemented, soon began to appear in musical events and gain recognition in the artistic environment.

When her collaboration with Chris began to bear fruit, she created with other street artists the Bus Collective of Asheville, an association that aims to defend the rights of artists and the promotion of street art. As a social activist, Abby has become one of the leading figures of street performers in the United States. The recognition she had won led her to appear in various audiovisual and cinematographic projects such as the film Jug Face (2013), by Chad Crawford Kinkle and the documentary Buskin ’Blues (2015), by Erin Derham.

In 2017, she rose to fame after the video of his theme Angels in Heaven went viral, on Facebook and other social networks. In the video, she is seen playing the spoons with mastery with the band man, Rodrigues, who plays the guitar while singing. In a short time, the video reached 200 million views on Facebook and 10 million views on YouTube.

The success of the video led to Abby and Chris gaining recognition and starting to perform on various stages, this time filling and selling tickets completely, as their unique style completely captivated viewers. In recent years Abby has performed in various countries, becoming one of the first spoon builders to achieve such a feat. While feeling happy for fame, Abby prefers to stay and do her career in Asheville, where she will currently direct the Busker Broadcast radio show, a radio space that focuses on street musicians and street art. In 2017 she published the album Working on Wall Street, which includes the song Angels in Heaven and other songs such as Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down, Gospel Plow and Don’t Let the Devil Ride, among others. That same year he participated in the Fbnr Stomp I theme of Fly by Night Rounders.

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