Acclaimed singer-songwriter John Calvin Abney has released his new single “Watch Me Go (Back In Time)” today (July 8), the final pre-release single from his highly-anticipated new album Tourist, due out on Aug. 5. Filmed and edited by Rahul Chakraborty, the engaging, colorful clip also marks Abney’s first directing credit. Watch the full music video via YouTube.
Anchored by Abney’s trademark lyrical candor, “Watch Me Go (Back In Time)” was born from an especially notable period of reflection during his solo travels across the country during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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,” Abney says. “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.”
“I could call me a cab / Run up another tab / But I think I’ll stay,” Abney quietly declares, choosing a different path — at least for the night. “Work and sleep have been thin / And high street line seems so far away.”
“Watch Me Go (Back In Time)” is the fifth and final pre-release single from Abney’s upcoming record Tourist, due out Aug. 5 via Black Mesa Records. In June, Abney shared the reflective track “Call Me Achilles,” which explores that intensive urge to make a fresh start and leave your past behind. The song earned acclaim from Americana UK, calling it “a song that has life in it – not so much a toe-tapper as a hip-shaker with an irresistible groove, as Abney sings like one slinking effortlessly from location to location.”
Penned on Christmas Day of 2020 in Tulsa, “Call Me Achilles” finds Abney reflecting on past weaknesses while making plans for a fresh start. “I’m a cloud of dust / I’m out of this town,” he proclaims. “I got hung up / I know better now.”
Previously, Abney shared the captivating tracks “Sleepwalkers,” “Full Moon Friend” and lead single “Holy Golden West.” Each song gives listeners a glimpse into the whole of Tourist, a project born amidst a journey Abney first started shortly after the pandemic began, taking him from San Francisco to Austin. At each town and pit stop along the way, Abney paused to take in his surroundings and all the characters who weaved in and out of those new backdrops. The songs on Tourist paint those scenes onto a new canvas, poetically examining the passage of time, the places we call home and how even the smallest of moments can leave a lasting mark.
Instead of hunkering down in a studio, Abney recorded the tracks on Tourist remotely from the hotel rooms and spare rooms of friends’ homes that he stopped in during his long, explorative journey. He found inspiration from the soundtrack that eminated from his car speakers along the way, with a wide-ranging playlist that included Elton John, The War On Drugs and Harumoi Hosono. Longtime friend and creative collaborator John Moreland added his own contributions to the tracks from afar, using modern technology to shorten the distance between them.
Tourist continues a thread first sewn with his 2020 release Familiar Ground, again evolving his sound with the addition of layered synthesizers and drum machines. Through his engaging lyrics, Abney transports the listener into his passenger seat, allowing us to experience and savor every blurred, fleeting second as we pass through.