I\'m Jim Abel. I write songs and I sing them. Funny songs, sad songs, political songs, love songs. My songs are what people call contemporary folk, but you won\'t find me on the Oh, Brother! Soundtrack or down at the Opry. In fact, I think I like the Alternative label. Works for me. I write a lot of songs these days. I play for different audiences -- coffee shops, bars, festivals -- and I like to mix it up a bit. I also try to have something new that is appropriate to the occasion. I started listening to Woody Guthrie when he was still alive, and his heirs are still on my play list, including Bob Dylan, Steve Goodman, Janis Ian, John McCutcheon and, first of all, Tom Paxton. But I\'ve also been listening to the American Songbook since I was a kid, and a lot of my musical ideas come from Broadway. People like George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Hoagy Carmichael and Rodgers and Hammerstein and Hart are high on my list of the greats. I am also an unrepentant hippie, so I owe my debts to Country Joe, the Airplane, Janis Joplin and that gang. Oh yeah, let me not forget Cream, Dr. John and dozens of other blues players, including Tom Waits. Get the idea?