John Calvin Abney’s full-length album “Safe Passage” comes out Sept. 27, and we are beyond excited to hear it in its entirety. Abney said this album will have some of the most hopeful songs he’s ever written.
“I hope they bring a kind of comfort to anyone moving down their path towards truth and happiness and safety for themselves and those they hold dear,” Abney said in a post.
Abney’s music is historically contemplative, and this new album is no excpetion, especially focusing on finding oneself in a world that expects so much of you.
In the song “When the Dark Winds Blow,” Abney writes, “can’t be everything to everyone you know. Give yourself some grace when those dark winds blow.”
The new album is the perfect follow-up for his 2018 release, “Coyote,” which dealt mainly in finding meaning in life’s difficulties (both universal and personal).
This album is daringly sentimetal, touching on personal tragedies in Abney’s life like a recent car accident and his loss of his father.
In the first single off the new album, “Kind Days,” Abney writes, “bad days are leaving. No use in grieving. Here come those kind days.”
“For the longest time, I really thought this record was autobiographical. But since the stark reality of what has taken place recently, they are as much about others, along with what keeps us from wanting to make connections with others or live intentional lives: addiction, loneliness, fear. My dad was really troubled but optimistic to a fault. I believe he wanted the same for the world, for everyone to have safe passage from these struggles and now, these words means something totally different than they once did.”John Calvin Abney
Abney just released his newest single “Maybe Happy” yesterday, and it’s already proven itself to be one of his strongest songs.
He wrote the single while touring with his close friend John Moreland in Europe, and the song felt to him like speaking to an old friend. Abney’s father passed away on the day he announced the album, and so now the music has changed form. He now thinks of it as a conversation with his father and finds it both comforting and harrowing.
“The name of the record and a lot of these songs took on brand new meanings after my father passed,” Abney told Billboard in an interview. “It almost felt premonitory. Even the title took on that idea of a person changing from live to dead, a passage of a spirit. All of a sudden I was just hoping my dad made it to wherever he was going, which is such a wild thing to think about.”
Abney’s music has ranged from soft and contemplative to folky and upbeat, but this single is particularly soft and impactful with a delicate piano lead-in, background ocean sounds, and soothing vocals.
“When I cross over from the shadows to the sun you’re not with me. I know you can’t tell, but I’ve been doing well. Maybe happy.”John Calvin Abney’s “Maybe Happy”
Want to learn more about John Calvin Abney? We chatted with him after his Coyote release to talk share some sandwiches as Scottie’s Deli and talked about Oklahoma rain, his Rolling Stone mention, and his friendship with John Moreland.