Press for the Safe Passage LP:
"Melodic, ethereal...lush." - Billboard
"His greatest asset is his ability to surrender to the song. Gentle, contemplative compositions" - No Depression
"Safe Passage will carry you to straight to country/folk bliss." - Paste
"...woozily lush arrangements and classic pop turns...feels like a farewell to a longtime friend, with its nostalgic haze and warm, bittersweet bite" - Rolling Stone Country
Press for Coyote (2018):
Thank you, Rolling Stone Country for the kind words, and video premiere, on your 10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week list!
With its double-tracked vocals and kaleidoscopic pop twists, “Always Enough” channels the hushed, lo-fi symphonies of Elliot Smith’s Figure 8. Far from a mere nod to his influences, though, the song finds John Calvin Abney making peace with his biggest champion and simultaneous critic: himself. “Can’t you see that we were always enough?” he asks, turning the song into an ode to self-actualization.
Featured as one of Rolling Stone's Artists You Need to Know, May 2018, "John Calvin Abney creates dreamy folk with a good balance of sadness and sunshine."
"Abney’s brand of Americana isn’t deeply rooted in country tinged crooners or twang. Rather, Abney's delievers soft and elegant moments reminiscent of Beck’s Sea Change, Ryan Adams‘ 29 and Elliott Smith’s Either/Or." - Wide Open Country
"Equal parts Elliott Smith and William Elliot Whitmore." - mxdwn
"Lush...dreamy." - The Boot
"Abney’s voice carries a world-weary sadness while simultaneously exuding optimism." - Glide Magazine
"9 out of 10...Abney is like a modern day Romantic poet, Wordsworth perhaps, (or Lord Byron – mad, bad and dangerous to know?) ... one of Oklahoma's finest comes up with the goods!" - Americana UK
Glide Magazine praises John Calvin Abney, saying track Every Now And Then, off forthcoming Coyote (May 18, 2018 Black Mesa Records) "feels reflective and hopeful both in its lyrics and musical composition."
Wide Open Country called John Calvin Abney one of the 15 torchbearers of Oklahoma music's modern era, saying that "despite his youth, John Calvin Abney‘s catalog of songs has long been road tested...a unique lane that’s combined freak folk quirks with indie rock sensibilities...like night rides through the country with Elliott Smith...straightforward alternative country prowess of Ryan Adams‘ Heartbreaker or the jangling ramble of a young Bob Dylan."
(PRESS FOR FAR CRIES AND CLOSE CALLS, 2016 LP)
"The work of an omniscient poet who’s yet to achieve his greatest triumph, Far Cries and Close Calls from John Calvin Abney is an album other artists aspire to call their masterwork." Ranked #3 best record of 2016 on Bucket Full of Nails!
"He is musical energy; maybe he is the Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma bands. He doesn't ever seem to get tired... As an instrumentalist, he has helped shape the sound of many of the most gifted current [Oklahoma] singer-songwriters..."Far Cries" is not a throwback sound, but a reminder that new music can hit our ears in ways that we might have forgotten."
- Justin Fortney (for Territory OKC)
Single "Goodbye Temporarily" premieres on PopMatters.com to great praise! "Bubbly... sleight of hand lyrics... instantly memorable."
- Eric Reisch (
"A breakout that demands my attention... Playfulness that lends a pop sensibility that is not disingenuous... Featuring crisp vocals, catchy lyrics, and layered instrumentals... a crossover hit for Abney as he shows us how to make an album accessible without dumbing it down...This 'Americana Elliott Smith' is bound to receive countless accolades. It takes a special talent to craft music that is so challenging yet so aesthetically pleasing at the same time... 'Far Cries' will be looked back on from the future as an album that let a star shine."
- Chris Prunckle, Wannabe Reviews, Glide Magazine
"a very impressive collection of songs and his best album so far... John has found his own voice...unique combination of folk, americana, rock’n’roll and indie pop. I hope this one will get the recognition it deserves. In my books, Far Cries and Close Calls is one of 2016’s finest."
- Vesa Lautamaki at onechord.net(
"Oklahoma’s musical Mad Hatter is John Calvin Abney... Whether spitballing phrases as on garage blues of “Jailbreak” or fingerpicking a self-admitted “huge bummer” on “Way Out,” Abney’s latest album, Far Cries and Close Calls, details life on the road in songs like “Goodbye Temporarily” aided by Megan Palmer’s violin lilt and the barn-burning “Weekly Rate Palace” with its question of fate or futility. With his musical acumen on full display... Abney continues to grow into the poet we need."
- Bucket Full of Nails
"Something about Tulsa that inspires thoughtful alt-country... Abney's a musical chameleon, launching himself between a Dylan-esque sneer in "Goodbye Temporarily" and the sweet earnestness of the ballad "Way Out." Abney deals in classic rock tropes and cutting lyrics... With this album, Abney shows his versatility and ability to craft a song around a mean hook...deft lyrics and potent melodies."
- Rachel Cholst, Adobe and Teardrops
"Far Cries and Close Calls should vault the perennial multi-instrumental sideman to a more prominent national position... Abney sings with a youthful snarl that might recall early Tom Petty... Other songs pare the arrangements to a bare minimum and bring to mind the tragic urban folk of Elliott Smith... an appealingly eclectic quality to his music, there's also an accompanying familiarity that abides from one song to the next...neither burdened by the pressure to stay true to any single "vibe" nor driven to wander too far afield... At heart, songs like "Jailbreak" simply engage at the most genuine level, appealing to our love of a true tune well constructed...ranges from bright and brash sunlight to overcast and introspective."
- Scott Foley, Routes and Branches
"A nice, raw sound... Responsible for this is especially John Calvin Abney itself; playing guitar, piano, organ and pedal steel... Unpolished sound which manifests itself particularly in the rock and roll songs with a garage-twist and lots of echo and reverb... alternates with beautifully understated songs; beautiful country-waltzes with sweet melodies in the vein of a melancholy Elliott Smith. Far Cries And Close Calls is a very nice album by a singer-songwriter who is ready; ready to speak to a wider audience - and finally put Tulsa back on the map."
- Wiebren Rijkeboer, Rock Odyssey
"The tracks that line Far Cries and Close Calls are audio examples of magic as the album tenderly whispers a confession...confidently strides in on shakey riffs to toast memories...slow Tulsa Sound rhythms. John Calvin Abney slips between styles like a ghost as he bids “Goodbye Temporarily” with perfect-world pop, struts with a rock swagger, dancing down the aisle for “Jailbreak”, and channels Bob Dylan’s subterranean ways as the tour bus pulls into the next big city show on “Weekly Rate Palace”."
- The Alternate Root
"He seems poised to spin stories of wisdom beyond his years under the guise of a rambling traveler who has seen more of the world than many dare... While this is within his wheelhouse, he chooses instead to apply his keen songwriting sensibilities to inward thoughts further from reach...He breathes an organic quality into his songs while retaining that sense of the unknown...John Calvin Abney is not just a brilliant songwriter and musician by craft. He uses his talents in a remarkable way, presenting personal abstractions in a tangible, pop-sensible format. The mold of Far Cries and Close Calls is familiar, but it is anything but commonplace"
- Evan Jarvicks, Cellar Door Music Group
(PRESS FOR VICE VERSA SUITE, 2015 EP)
"One of the most promising young singer-songwriters... like when you here a tattered proverb muttered from a toddler that hits you square between the eyes...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...four artisanally honed lo-fi, roots pop excursions sandwiched between two soul scrubbing, new baby beautiful piano audio poems... These songs are modern folk gems, filtered through Guthrie haunted Oklahoma dust and a well-travelled young troubadour’s modern thoughts." - No Depression, Feb. 2016
"...A prolific tunesmith...Daisy and Clover is a stunning song." - onechord.net, Nov. 2015
(PRESS FOR BETTER LUCK, 2015 LP)
Better Luck ranked #1 Oklahoma Record of 2015 by Ryan LaCroix, host of the Oklahoma Rock Show and All Things Considered, KOSU Radio, NPR!
"Authoring eleven songs that salute his folk infatuation yet branching out of the pigeonhole just a bit...What’s left is enigmatic, bright blues and rock and roll; landscapes of sounds and instruments put together seamlessly, complete with heady, deeply personal lyrics. He has an almost cherub-like vocal style. The last thing you’d expect is the road experience Abney has amassed. His voice portrays a distant innocence, delivered almost as if you’re the only one that doesn’t get the joke....Better Luck is a solid freshman effort and your first “must-have” of 2015." - No Depression
"...imagine what Jason Isbell’s alt-country might sound like if he was a little more influenced by freak-folk and indie-pop, then you can imagine Abney’s sound... Better Luck delivers memorable vocal performances, strong songwriting, and tight arrangements...a tight, crisp, earnest album of alt-country/folk songs that resonate easily and deeply." - Independent Clauses
"Peppered with love songs like the countrified blind faith of 'Dallas City Lights,' the self-effacing title track with its prismatic rhythm and country blues of album standout “I Can’t Choose,” Better Luck covers a wide swath of styles...Bearing only minor flaws, Better Luck is a crackerjack debut that marks the emergence of a burgeoning songwriter who should only get better with age." - Bucket Full of Nails
"John Calvin Abney’s new album “Better Luck” is more about good talent than good fortune. The title track demonstrates his ability to learn from life’s romantic calamities and turn them into a perfect under-three minute song...He may not always be lucky in love but the 20-something musician knows how to turn those heartaches into winning music...Abney’s composition is more poetic than most of those." - Norman Transcript
"John Calvin Abney is another interesting new name in Oklahoma....The singer-songwriter comes up with modern rootspop in the style of Josh Ritter or Josh Rouse, his clean vocals on the title track tends to Matthew Sweet. Rootspop, but never weak. He can play it all just as well, complex and familiar structures... 4 out of 5 stars." - Alt-Country.NL
"You’d never know Abney is a newcomer to the craft of composing smart, personal, often wryly pointed American indie folk-rock in the vein of Elliott Smith and Conor Oberst. His slightly weathered tenor vocals cut a lonely groove through 11 songs about loss, regret, burned bridges and yes, sometimes, love... He approaches his music with a fresh innocence and tuneful confidence that propels his melodies and delivers legitimate, heartfelt emotion. Spare, economic production throughout “Better Luck” provides an airy sonic space for Abney’s mostly acoustic music... A truly fine debut." - Tulsa People