Here’s the latest single from singer-songwriter John Calvin Abney. Beginning with some beautifully tuneful guitar-work and Abney’s understated, earnest vocal, ‘Watch Me Go (Back in Time)’ builds up in subtle layers, becoming gently rhythmic and demonstrating Abney’s fine songcraft. The song truly grows and swells, instrumentation swirling, as we are lifted sonically while the lyrics are heavy with loss, resignation and deep introspection: “How many times have I fit // Like a first aid kit // In an old junk drawer // Bandage and tape cover up // Cuts and scrapes that I don’t feel anymore.” Though it’s stark, it’s gorgeously engaging.
Abney explains the song’s themes: “Written after I made my way to Austin, Texas and took up residence in a small room near city limits, the song speaks of our ubiquitous desire to go back in time and change events instead of accepting how the cards fell and moving forward. Information technology has made nostalgia a currency that puts many folks in an emotional debt for a time that no longer exists anywhere except memory. This song is about acceptance, and communicating through the cold lights of tech.”
The song is taken from Abney’s brand new album ‘Tourist’. When the world locked down in 2020, Abney effectively did the opposite. The lease on his home ran out in May of that year and he decided to travel around, staying with friends on their sofas or even their garages. He found himself living temporarily in various parts of the USA, including California, Nevada and Texas. This experience shaped the songs on the new album as Abney explains: “I felt like a tourist, but not in a gaudy, intrusive way. I was a quiet figure in the background of town, softly gathering up scenery and stories, trying to learn how to live outside of the realms I inhabited comfortably when I was younger.” One of these places was south of Reno, NV where he was born, spending his early years in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. “Not only did I feel like a tourist in this world, I was a stranger in my hometown who recognised no one but the land.” The lyrical narratives Abney created were inspired by stories from his journeys across the country: the people he met, the places visited, tiny details and major events like the Californian wildfires. It all comes together in a collection of sophisticated, well-crafted songs as Abney searches for his place in the world and we go along for the ride. Enjoy.
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