MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Two Mobile natives are producing a podcast on an unusual topic that’s gaining buzz online. The podcast, “Alabama Astronaut,” attempts to showcase the unique music found only in snake-handling churches. Snake-handling churches are rare–often mocked and even held at a distance by mainstream Christianity. Mobile Artist and Songwriter Abe Patridge spent months traveling to snake-handling churches and getting close to the people who worship there. Eventually, he turned his travels into recordings that podcast host and another Mobile native Ferrill Gibbs started turning into this show.
It’s called Alabama Astronaut because he’s a cultural explorer visiting new places. People often focus on the spectacle of handling dangerous venomous snakes and drinking strychnine at these churches while overlooking the music–which Partridge describes as some of the last undocumented music in America.
“It is the most powerful music I’ve been around in my whole life and I’ve been to the big shows and I’ve been to the small shows and it’s incredibly moving,” said Mobile artist and songwriter Abe Partridge. “I find their music to be actually more stimulating and powerful than the handling of the serpents and it has never been properly documented and it’s incredibly powerful and moving art.” Through the course of the series, Partridge works to record an album with a couple from one of the churches and a studio recording of a church service.
Last week, Alabama Astronaut was trending as one of Apple’s top documentary podcasts. Partridge, also a former preacher, says the music and authenticity of these places should not be overlooked. The show strips the oddity from the worship in snake-handling churches and instead treats them with respect these worship services aren’t often shown. For more information on the podcast, check their website.