John Calvin Abney

John Calvin Abney will return with his fifth studio album, Familiar Ground, on November 20, 2020 via Black Mesa Records. Co-produced with longtime collaborator John Moreland during the country’s pandemic lockdown, the nine-song set often contemplates the acceptance of our own mortality, as well as the strength it takes for us to weather the storms of life.

Abney serves as Moreland’s touring guitarist and when the shows around Moreland’s new record LP5 were canceled in March, Abney spent his extra time off the road writing the songs that would soon comprise Familiar Ground. He shaped each track using a ten-year-old iMac, writing on guitar, piano, and Mellotron, then sent them over to Moreland, who would add drums and bass. They bounced the songs back and forth remotely between their home studios, with Abney playing piano and synthesizers and composing the strings that lend the record a dreamy, expansive feel.

Though Abney’s influences are far-reaching, from the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke to contemporary peers like Laura Marling and Christian Lee Hutson to the surreal writing of Haruki Murakami, his art has the intimacy of a conversation with an old friend. Pulled by pangs of steel pedal guitar and buoyed by his gentle vocals, the record takes us on a meandering journey through cities of the mind as Abney mulls over what it means to fully experience our fleeting lives on earth.

(Photo Credit: Ian Hanson)


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Hear First: John Calvin Abney’s Familiar Ground

By John Calvin Abney | November 17, 2020

Hear First: John Calvin Abney’s Familiar Ground

An album premiere, plus a conversation about it between Abney and his old friend Bartees Strange.