Releasing an album is cause for celebration, and Norman-based singer/ songwriter John Calvin did his share as he let loose of his second album, Wish Alloy. But, like a good artist, he didnt stop there.
When you make an album, its a snapshot of you in that point of time a sonic photo album, you could say. It was nice to have them done and share with people, he said. Its not only a tool for self-promotion, but also self-analysis. It showed me all my inconsistencies and inadequacies.
The record brimming with simple and upbeat folk, indie rock and blues ditties has had a few months to settle. While he enjoys the finished product, much time since has been spent looking at how it could have been better.
I dont hate my songs, and I hate the perfectionist attitude. I just want them to be better, Calvin said. Songs are never completed. All these songs are in transit. Like one of the sound engineers told me, You never finish recording an album; you just abandon it. Not that its all bad It portrayed growth and adaptation, the evolution of my sound. It shows your craftsmanship and how youve learned to build, he said. If I was a painter, those would be my first couple of sketches.
A new batch of songs is quickly cropping up that will assemble into a new album within a years time. A planet rife with devastating problems is the perfect muse for the anthropology student who is perpetually in tune with the climate of the world at large. Hes one of a dwindling number of artists who really care about spreading a message that goes deeper than love; it seems appropriate that Calvin, with his affinity for polyester shirts and a wild mane of hair, quite easily could pass for a young Bob Dylan.
With the stuff going on in Japan, and the Libyan conflict and the Palestinian/Gaza conflict, he said, theres terrible shit happening everywhere. Its the social function of an artist to help people hear about and relate to these things, and offer their abilities and talents to the awareness and support of the people who are in the fray helping out.
Its not so much of their pain being his gain, but making sure everyone else knows how it feels.
These people cant walk down the street without having to worry about a Howitzer shell flying past their head, Calvin said. I cant adequately express how these people are feeling, but I can express about how I feel about what they are dealing with. From what Ive seen, heard and felt, it hurts.
It wont be long before Calvin spreads his message and music beyond the bounds of Oklahoma, but first things first.
Im going to graduate, and Im not going to get a real job, because my real job is music, he said. Im going to hit the road after I graduate, find myself in a new place. Maybe Nashville but Ill still be around for a few years. Ive got some more things to show Norman first.