A lot of people like to claim the title “Hardest Working Person In Music” but John Calvin Abney might take the crown from them all. John has made a name for himself as a shit-hot guitar player, accompanying John Moreland, Samantha Crain, Margo Cilker, and many others (including Lizzie No herself!) But the reason we wanted him to join us as a guest on Basic Folk is that his own catalog is poetic and beautifully produced.
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John grew up in Nevada and Oklahoma, and you can hear the restless desert highways in all the soundscapes he creates. His latest album, Tourist, asks the question of how a person can feel at home when they spend their life on the road. It also finds resolution after the death of John’s father, through found recordings and thoughtful lyrics. Listening to Tourist feels like catching up with an old friend. You might hear Elliott Smith in “Good Luck and High Tide” or J.J. Cale in “Call Me Achilles,” but the stories are John Calvin to the core.
We dug into recording techniques, John’s high school identity as “guitar guy,” touring with Hanson, Christian camp, and how running off to Europe as a romantic gesture helped launch John’s career.
Editor’s Note: Basic Folk is currently running their annual fall fundraiser! Visit basicfolk.com/donate for a message from hosts Cindy Howes and Lizzie No, and to support this listener-funded podcast.
Photo Credit: Rebecca Sarkar
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