Tulsa singer-songwriter John Calvin Abney released a new album (“Tourist”) Friday via Black Mesa Records.
A press release said the album had received praise from a range of curators and outlets including No Depression, BBC Radio, The Boot, Americana UK, Glide Magazine, Adobe & Teardrops, Twangville, The Alternate Root, Americana Highways and others.
The album’s arrival follows the July 8 release of “Watch Me Go (Back In Time)”, a final pre-release single from the album. Filmed and edited by Rahul Chakraborty, the engaging and colorful clip also marks Abney’s first directorial credit. Watch the full music video here.
Anchored by Abney’s signature lyrical candor, “Watch Me Go (Back In Time)” was born out of a period of reflection during his solo travels across the country during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. .
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“Written after I traveled to Austin, Texas, and took up residence in a small room near the city limits, the song is about our ever-present desire to go back in time and change events in instead of accepting how the cards fell and moving on,” Abney said.
“Information technology has made nostalgia a currency that indebted many people emotionally for a time that only exists in memory. This song is about acceptance and communication through the cold lights of technology .
In June, Abney shared the thought-provoking track “Call Me Achilles,” which explores the intense urge to make a fresh start and leave your past behind. The song was acclaimed by Americana UK, who called it “a song that has life – not so much a toe-tapping as a hip-shaker with an irresistible groove, as Abney sings like we’re effortlessly weaving from place to place…”
Written on Christmas Day 2020 in Tulsa, “Call Me Achilles” finds Abney reflecting on past weaknesses while making plans for a fresh start.
Previously, Abney shared the tracks “Sleepwalkers”, “Full Moon Friend” and a debut single, “Holy Golden West”. Each song gives listeners a glimpse into the set of “Tourist,” a project born amidst a journey Abney began shortly after the pandemic began. The trek took him from San Francisco to Austin. At every town and pit stop along the way, Abney stopped to take in his surroundings and all the characters that weaved in and out of the backdrops.
A press release about the album said: “Tourist’s songs paint these scenes on a new canvas, poetically examining the passage of time, the places we call home and how even the smallest of moments can leave a lasting brand.”
Instead of recording in a studio, Abney recorded the tracks remotely from the hotel rooms and guest rooms of the guest houses he stopped at during his long exploratory journey. He was inspired by the soundtrack played through his car speakers along the way, with a wide-ranging playlist including Elton John, The War On Drugs and Harumoi Hosono. Longtime friend and creative collaborator John Moreland added his own contributions to tracks from afar, using modern technology to shorten the distance between them.
Abney’s 2022 tour stops include a Sept. 10 show at Vox Pop in Tulsa.