John Calvin Abney
If you haven’t heard of John Calvin Abney, it’s definitely time to pay attention. Abney grew up learning music and music theory, which led to him being in a garage punk band in 2010 called Pilgrim and Pine. Shortly thereafter fellow Norman musician Camille Harp asked Abney to play with her, which he did for several years. This partnership with Harp opened up other doors and relationships with local musicians and Abney found himself being asked to play with many of the key players on the scene. These included Kyle Reid, The Damn Quails, Bob Moore, Samantha Crain and John Moreland. In fact Abney just recently finished a 22 day tour across Europe with Samantha Crain in November, which was the second European tour he has done with her. “I’ve played guitar most of my life but I have been branching out and playing other instruments a lot probably the last seven years. I was a guitar player for so long that it became pretty easy for me to genre hop,” explained Abney. Abney plays guitar, pedal steel, keys and drums.
Abney has spent the majority of his career playing backup music for other people, although he is making a move to playing more for himself these days.“I write a lot of music and songs for myself now, mostly just in the last five years,” said Abney.
Abney released a six song collection called Without Wax Demos in 2012, which marked his transition from being just a side player to a songwriter. In October 2014 he put out an EP called Empty Candles, followed by his first full length album in January 2015 called Better Luck. On Saturday December 5th Abney will be releasing his EP Vice Versa Suite. “It’s kind of a record about being human and being lonely, and being stuck in a small town and imagining love as something more than a cheap feeling. More than a slick date or just a marriage, that love is something bigger than that. That being human is kind of a scary and lonely thing,” said Abney.
Tape Gun Records is releasing a short run of cassettes of Vice Versa Suite, although the EP will also be available digitally. The cassettes will be available at the show Dec 5th at OPOLIS in Norman, located at 113 N. Crawford. Calabar, Sun Riah and Shameless friend will also be performing. The doors open at 8pm, show at 9pm. You can check out a track from the EP called “Daisy and Clover” here www.johncalvinabney.bandcamp.com/track/daisy-and-clover.
There are also a few more times to catch Abney playing this month. He will be opening for Christopher Paul Stelling at Post 352, located at 3909 NW 10th St. in Oklahoma City on Friday December 4th. The show starts at 6pm. Abney is also joining John Moreland for two dates this month; December 16th at the Blue Door in Oklahoma City and December 17th at The Mercury Lounge in Tulsa. “John Moreland and I are working on his new record right now, which is phenomenal,” said Abney.
However Abney will be going into the studio himself in about 9 days to record his next full length album, which will be available late spring 2016. Kyle Reid and the Low Swinging Chariots will be playing as his band on the album. “I’ll have a few more guest appearances on the record, but I’m not releasing them just yet,” said Abney.
Abney is definitely a talented and energetic musician, and is working hard to put his mark on the scene. Although his musical skills shine through on the various instruments that he plays, and with the various bands and musicians that he plays alongside, I think his songwriting is also going to be making people stop and take notice if they haven’t already. His lyrical style is different and interesting, and no doubt will only continue to get better with time. You can learn more about Abney at his website at www.johncalvinabney.com, or on his various social media sites.