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Connecting with fans: John Calvin Abney likes playing smaller venues

John Calvin Abney is touring in support of his latest album, “Safe Passage.” (Courtesy Of Rambo)

John Calvin Abney is taking a break during his trip from Spokane, Washington, to Oregon.

He’s pulled over to watch snow falling.

“It’s about 40 degrees and beautiful,” he says in a recent interview. “It’s all good, and the tour has been great.”

Abney is on a solo tour in support of his recent album, “Safe Passage.”

His tour will bring him through Albuquerque on Wednesday, Dec. 4, where he will play at Tractor Brewing – Nob Hill Taproom.

Abney is a songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist who has spent nearly 10 years in the studio and on the road in service to the songs of other writers, including John Moreland, Samantha Crain, and Lee Bains III + The Glory Fires, along with a swath of musicians who quickly become friends. Recently, he has also spent time scoring short films and documentaries between sessions and shows.

Abney spends most of the year on tour.

This time around, he’s doing a solo tour, and he’s thrilled to be out on the road.

“Every single time I head out solo, it’s a stark reminder of why I did this in the first place,” he says. “There are so many pretty places and good people that I meet along the way.”

On this tour, Abney has written the majority of his next album.

“I write on the road these days,” he says. “I’ve been able to adapt to less conventional writing spaces, like the inside of the van or a hotel room. Or even a parking lot.”

Abney wrote “Safe Passage” in two sessions.

“The first was mostly done inside of cars, in the little breathers and moments of respite that I had on the West Coast last year around this time,” he says. “The second bout was at my kitchen table, and it was a week when I sequestered myself and drank coffee and booze. I did a lot of walking too.”

Sequencing the album is also and important process for Abney.

“I never wanted to release a collection of songs,” he says. “I want it to be a single piece of work. Each piece follows in line. It’s my goal of mine to be as honest and transparent as I can. I want to connect myself to the listener.”

Abney is no stranger to New Mexico, having played in Albuquerque and Madrid plenty of times.

“I really like the smaller venues,” he says. “This Tractor location, it’s easier for me to get to you and shake your hand. I’m at the point in my career that I can still do that.”

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