For the past decade, John Calvin Abney has made a name for himself as a solo artist and sought-after sideman. He’s toured as lead guitarist for fellow Oklahoman John Moreland, recording with him on his last two acclaimed albums, and in between, the prolific Abney found time to add another impressive record to his own catalog (2016’s Far Cries And Close Calls), supporting the release with a run of solo shows during a whirlwind year filled with as much struggle as success. Abney’s new full-length, Coyote, out May 18 on Black Mesa Records, draws from this tumultuous time, fearlessly staring down distance, isolation and fading love, as well as loss, fear and disassociation from the self.
Working on Coyote with ace musicians Shonna Tucker (ex-Drive-By Truckers) on bass, Megan Palmer on keyboards and violin, and Paddy Ryan on drums, Abney crafted ten songs of unwavering beauty and insight, marrying languorous soundscapes to bittersweet reflections on losing what matters most, and the kind of resilience necessary to come out whole on the other side.
While Abney took his time writing Coyote, the recording process at Fellowship Hall Sound in Little Rock, Ark., was an intense three-day sprint—which is the way Abney prefers it. “I like to work fast so I don’t second-guess anything,” he says. Despite the rapid-fire sessions, Coyote boasts thoughtful arrangements—featuring Abney on piano, organ, guitar and pedal steel—that put his gorgeous melodies and heartfelt lyrics front and center. His association with Moreland might have fans expecting something akin to Americana, but the new record isn’t so easily hemmed into that genre, venturing frequently into sounds that are more dreamy and melancholy.
As Abney gears up for the release of Coyote and a lengthy supporting tour, he finds himself as steeled and resourceful as ever. No matter where his journey takes him, whatever the twists or hardships, he’s ready—like the scrappy and unrelenting canine that inspired his nickname—to push on through, finding more fodder out there for his unforgettable songs along the way.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the tune “Every Now and Then”, a dreamy pop song that carries a twangy, sparse Americana sound. The slowburning tune feels reflective and hopeful both in its lyrics and musical composition. Abney layers organ, acoustic and electric guitar and a simple drumbeat – not to mention some gorgeous female harmonies – to create a rich sound perfectly suited to hit power pop vocals. True to the story of how the record got made, Abney’s voice carries a world-weary sadness while simultaneously exuding optimism.