John Calvin Abney on Fri, December 13, 2019

Safe passage, in any case, is a porch light lit, a proverbial lighthouse in the miles of vast darkness, a hope. A hope of making it through, one way or another, without losing yourself or what you hold dear.

On the gentle opener to John Calvin Abney’s new album, he draws a line between himself and the expectations of others. The weight of those judgments, wanting to be what others have wanted from him, has always sat heavy on Abney’s heart—the depths of which he’s plumbed for plenty of albums’ past—but here, he’s distilled that pressure and perhaps his own past posturing down to the most fundamental human desire.

“I just want to feel good,” he sings softly, setting the tone for the cyclical narrative of “Safe Passage,” a ten-song exploration of happiness and the self.