John Calvin Abney

Photo Credit: Rambo

John Calvin Abney is one of the finest guitarists you’ve probably heard on a record but had no idea he existed. He has played with countless artists over the years and it was supporting that John Moreland when I was left slack-jawed at his playing. For his solo stuff, you’d half expect to just bury you under a mountain of guitar mastery. For his solo stuff, he has opted for folksy Americana that is contemplative as opposed to flashy.

Safe Passage, the follow up to 2018’s Coyote, came out during a perfect time of the year. It feels natural to sit outside on the porch as the air starts to gather a chill to it. The three track run of Turn Again, When the Dark Winds Blow and Backwards Spring are pure perfection. It is a little more twangy than previous efforts but it isn’t hitting you over the head. They just come off as no natural, lending itself to theme of this effort – hope.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

John Calvin Abney is here

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Photo Credit: Rambo

John Calvin Abney is following up on 2018’s excellent Coyote. In the unfinished review I started back then, I wrote that while Coyote was a solid album; I truly believe we’re going to get some real special music from him in the future. We might be here now as this first single is lights out. Here’s some info from the PR team.

Like “Turn Again,” many of the songs on Safe Passage tend to look for the light in the face of tragedy, worry, or self-imposed struggle. “Kind Days” touches on 1950s and ‘60s tropical folk instrumentation and offers a sweet, swaying lesson in patience: “Bad days are leaving / No use in grieving / Here come those kind days.” He reminds us to bring that kindness onto ourselves in “When the Dark Winds Blow,” a harmonica-laden standout where he and his album-making cohorts belt during the chorus, “Can’t be everything to everyone you know / Give yourself some grace when those dark winds blow.” These poignant lyrical moments are complemented by memorable instances when his studio band really stretches its legs. Like on the plucky, fun, rock ‘n’ roll number “Days of Disconnect” where drummer Will Johnson (Centro-matic, Monsters of Folk), violinist/vocalist Megan Palmer, and bassist/vocalist Shonna Tucker (Drive By Truckers), as well as Abney himself on keys, sound as cohesive as a band that has toured together for decades.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

John Calvin Abney is here

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