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Saving Abel // Live @ Blue Note Harrison // 6.11.21

Article & Photos: Linda Carlson


Harrison, OH – Just a short jaunt west of Cincinnati off Interstate 74 lies Harrison, Ohio.  Quiet and almost rural, it boasts a nature lover’s cornucopia of activities that includes hiking, boating and fishing in nearby Miami Whitewater Forest.  But just a mile or so north of the highway is an unexpected music venue, Blue Note Harrison, that draws national musicians of all genres.

The venue provides an intimate setting.  In one corner is the stage, slightly elevated, and scattered throughout the room are some tables and chairs, almost with the familiarity of a local bar. Folks mingle at tables, share stories in small standing groups, and meander toward the stage as inspiration warrants, dancing in open spaces.  It’s part concert, part hangout and all completely comfortable.

On this balmy Ohio evening, fans assembled to re-acquaint themselves with live music after more than a year of silent stages.  Saving Abel is this evening’s attraction.  From Mississippi, the band seemed at home in this remote, off-the-beaten-path venue.

Saving Abel

Lead singer Scotty Austin is a natural performer.  Joining this southern rock band in 2013, Austin has a sense of ease on stage and a rapport with the crowd that belies a genuine affection for the fans.  Sporting a mohawk that seems at first to conflict with the southern rock style, but after a few minutes, it all just seems to work.  A little bit of rebel, after all, is a trademark of the genre.

Saving Abel

Each musician played a key role in the performance, both musically and through stage presence. Jason Null (lead guitar) and Scott Bartlett (rhythm guitar) anchored the stage edges with stoicism and calm, while Scott Wilson (bass) prowled the stage, and Steven Pulley (drums) assertively kept the beat with flair.  Austin worked the stage expertly to engage the crowd directly, also shifting adeptly to allow each bandmate to take center stage and showcase his showmanship and talent.

Saving Abel

Over the course of the hour-plus set, the band played a number of fan favorites, notably 18 Weeks and closing with their signature hit, Addicted.  From start to finish, the performance was cohesive and entertaining, intermingling individual solos that highlighted each band member’s acuity and talent.  In this intimate environment, the overall experience left this reviewer feeling quite satisfied.

Saving Abel

Austin thanked the crowd repeatedly for its continued support of live music, impressing on everyone that committed fans allow such traveling troubadours of music, whose life’s work is to entertain, to persevere.  It was clear that the music industry is geared up to resume live music with gusto!

Interested in catching a Saving Abel show?  Check their tour schedule:



Linda Carlson
Linda has been photographing people since she was ten. Forever intrigued by the complex beauty of the human form, she brings the eye of a portraitist to the unpredictability and spectacle of the concert scene.