A Voice to be Reckoned With

Meaning, the inner voice that drives the dulcet tones of Abigail Dowd


In January of last year, Abigail Dowd released her first album. Her second one, Not What I Seem, will be out this summer. She has averaged 16 to 18 shows a month throughout 2017.

When Robert Frost wrote “The Road Not Taken,” he could easily have had this Greensboro songstress in mind. Her circuitous journey has taken her from her birthplace in Carthage, North Carolina, to UNC, where she earned a degree in anthropology; to Southern Pines, where she won a seat on the Town Council at age 26; to Florence, Italy; to Maine; back to Southern Pines, where she ran the prestigious Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities; and finally to Greensboro, where she is rapidly becoming one of the area’s most respected and sought-after singer/songwriters.

“I kept following that voice in my head that said ‘this is not your job’ until I found it,” she muses. “This is my job, this in my place.”

Along the way she met her future husband, Jason Duff, on an airplane. Duff is now her accompanist on bass and cajon, and the two are planning a May wedding in Rome.

“I know, it reads like a fairy tale, but, trust me, it’s not,” she says with a laugh, quickly adding, “except the part with Jason. That part is a fairy tale, but the rest of it has been a quest to figure out where I belonged, to find my place.”

While the petite beauty has been getting quite a bit of media exposure lately, it dwarfs the news she made as a member of the Southern Pines Town Council. She was a one-woman crusade against a mega developer, who was planning a 500-unit complex on what she considered pristine land. Against all odds, she won the zoning battle, forcing the developer to scuttle the project.

“I became a public figure, and everybody in town knew me,” she recalls. “But I realized I didn’t really know myself.”

So she wrote a letter to the mayor, telling him she quit, and abruptly moved to Florence, Italy. She immediately landed a job at an arts school there, but soon realized she was repeating herself and moved back to the states, this time to Maine. While working for a sustainable design firm there, she flew back to North Carolina to visit her family, and it was there that fate intervened in the hunky form of Jason.

So she moved to Greensboro and landed a job at the Weymouth Center. Yet, what many would consider a dream job instead made her realize that while she was helping the writers in residence fulfill their dreams, she was neglecting hers, which was to write songs and play music.

— Ogi Overman

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