#LetTheGirlsPlay: Abbey Cone Dreaming of Bigger ‘Castles’
Abbey Cone can't help but get FOMO when she's on Facebook. Pictures of old high school classmates starting college leave her wondering if she made the right decision when she left Texas for Nashville at 16 years old. Doubt creeps in like a guitar slowly going out of tune. She wonders, she worries, she has second thoughts about this whole journey she's committed to.
“But I just got my first cut and it was the No. 1 album on iTunes," Cone says with relief, not bluster. The humble, almost 19-year-old Fort Worth native had the Nashville blues real bad before she got a surprise invite to write with Lindsay Ell earlier this year. Together with Josh Kear they wrote "Castles," one of the sterling songs on Ell's The Project album.
Ell and Cone are comparable in that both are skilled musicians that allow non-country influences to seep into their songwriting. Cone once branded herself as "country soul," and when you hear her sing songs like "I Wish You Would" and see her strum the white Gretsch White Falcon she so often carries, you understand why. Her mother and father raised her on the classics: Glen Campbell, Bob Wills, Styx and Aerosmith. Somewhere in there she discovered Mariah Carey's MC2 album and Usher.
"I could do straight R&B tomorrow and I’m sure I’d love it," Cone says, "but there’s so much more integrity in country lyrically that I feel like if you make a baby with the R&B melodies and a solid country lyric, that’s what I want to do."
September's #LetTheGirlsPlay artist of the month does dig deeper to push oft-told stories of young-love-gone-bad aside for something that can resonate with a wider audience. "I Wish You Would" isn't an angsty teenage love song. Her pleading wish for an ex-lover to return is mature, honest and universal.
"I wish you pull up my driveway / I'd hear you knockin' at my door / I'd see that look on your face / You wouldn't have to say a word / Lead me down the hallway and then you get me / Up against the wall, yeah / While you kiss me / I ain't sayin that it's right or that it's good / But damn I wish you would," Cone sings.
Nearly 19 but going on 30, Cone is a self-described old soul. In fact she might be going through some sort of quarter-life crisis, because during her most recent trip home to Texas she started crying when she left and that never happens.
“In the last six months I’ve developed such a weird awareness of time,” Cone says.“And I’ve recently turned into a sap so yeah, every time it’s hard now. I don’t know why it’s just now.”
The world is either slowing down or speeding up, something that tends to happen when you first taste success. "Castles" was her first album cut, but her dreams are bigger. Cone moved to Music City to be an artist and dreams of filling up Bridgestone Arena. Acoustic shows like the Song Suffragettes shows she often takes part in on Monday nights at the Listening Room in Nashville are fun, but she misses the power of a full band.
“Doing this is so hard. The entertainment industry. Even the business side of it is so hard," Cone says, speaking freely about the struggles familiar to anyone trying to chase their dream in Nashville. There are times she wishes she could be like her sister who is starting nursing school and will be done in four years. Her plan is written down and easy to follow. Cone's is dependant on the next co-write, management deal or single.
“My sister, being a nurse is her dream," Cone says. "That’s her castle. I wish that could be my castle but it’s not.”
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