‘Spoon Lady,’ Chris Rodrigues receive standing ovation

Published 8:39 pm Monday, April 15, 2019

Dr. David Dye was the first to stand.

The ovation was spontaneous and so richly deserved, he said.

“How could anyone take two spoons and create a rich life for herself?” said Dye, former dean of the Troy University College of Communication and Fine Arts. “Standing ovations should only be given for something extremely special. I stood because my heart and mind had  been so touched. Abby Roach is an inspiration.”

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Dye, perhaps, like most of those who packed the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge Friday night, came to hear Chris Rodrigues, the one-man band, and Abby the Spoon Lady in concert.

And they did not disappoint, Dye said,

“Chris Rodrigues was amazing. He played the harmonica, the guitar and the suitcase drum and bells all at the same time,” Dye said. “And he was just as amazing as a singer. Abby played the spoons, the bells and the handsaw and she turned them all into orchestral instruments.”

But, Dye said it was Abby Roach’s story that he found so inspiring.

“Hearing her talk about riding the rails, about being a traveler, and how she considered that to be her only option after a series of terrible mishaps, made me think that by the Grace of God, there go I or any of us,” he said.

“But Abby Roach decided that was not all she wanted out of life. She took the humble spoon and, with it and a creative spark, turned the spoon into an orchestral instrument. Together she and Chris Rodrigues make a wonderful duo of musicality. And they share a story of perseverance and hope and of overcoming adversity.”

After eight years of riding the rails and living in hobo camps, Abby the Spoon Lady has made a name for herself all around the world and Dye said what a blessing her story is.

Amanda Smothers, lead vocalist for The Lighthouse String Ensemble, said seeing Abby play the spoons was a unique experience and hearing her play the handsaw was something she might never witness again.

“Chris writes many of their songs and he mostly sang gospel folk and blues with a message and shared about his faith,” Smothers said. “The stories Abby shared about living homeless and learning to value people and relationships over the abundance of stuff in our lives rang very true. She emphasized that every person, whether rich or poor has infinite worth.”

Smother said she loves that Brundidge has a unique venue where real roots music is played and great memories are made.

Jacob Fannin, City of Troy Risk Management coordinator, was the first to buy a ticket to the concert.

“I went for the music and it was amazing,” Fannin said. “I had seen Chris Rodrigues and Abby the Spoon Lady on YouTube but that’s nothing like seeing them in person. They are genuine and they are amazing.  Their concert was a unique experience all around.’

Fannin said even though he went for the music, it was the stories that  really made the concert an even more unique experience.

“We have perceptions of the homeless community but hearing Abby’s story you realize you should never judge people unless you know their circumstances.”

Fannin said he was proud of the opportunity to see Chris Rodrigues and Abby the Spoon Lady in concert “and right here in Brundidge.”

Cathie Steed, ticket chair for the event, said tickets were sold as far north as Cullman and as far south as the Panhandle.

“We were excited to have Chris Rodrigues and  Abby the Spoon Lady at the We Piddle Around Theater,” Steed said. “We had many more request for tickets than we could fill. We look forward to having them back in the not-to-distant future.”