One of the most promising young singer-songwriter’s doubles as a crack guitar and keyed instrument hired gun for both studio and stage permeations. You’ve heard his chops on John Moreland and Sam Crain records on both keys and guitar, you’re yet to hear him handling guitar work on the anticipated new Chris Porter record, and, not to mention, John Calvin Abney’s own sophomore full length is inching toward the audiophile finish line, set for a fall release.
There’s a cherubic innocence to Abney’s vocals, almost like when you here a tattered proverb muttered from a toddler that hits you square between the eyes -- a man young in years but long in the tooth by way of licks, melodies, and catchy bubblegum laced indie folk. What’s striking is his ability to lay back in his songcrafting. If I were packed with licks on basically every instrument I picked up like ol’ John Calvin I’d be ever-chomping at the snare to launch into raunchy solos of one candor or another. Instead we’re treated to four artisanally honed lo-fi, Roots pop excursions sandwiched between two soul scrubbing, new baby beautiful piano audio poems – a combined 4 minutes and 14 seconds of reflection and goosebump chills– call ‘em eargasms…reflections and eargasms.
If the Vice Versa Suite EP is a look into the future full length, color me intrigued, breath bated even. These songs are modern folk gems, filtered through Guthrie haunted Oklahoma dust and a well-travelled young troubadour’s modern thoughts. Abney’s songs hold weight and we’re privy to the next molt not unlike Isbell, Moreland, and now Caudle before him. No drums or bass here though, just piano and guitar, and some verbal healing. Well worth the $5 pricetag, get healed! ( No Depression :: 3/24/16 )