Two men, two guitars, one autoharp, four wheels.
This is not the set-up for a coming-of-age movie, but it is the framework that musicians Daniel Markham and John Calvin Abney have set up for themselves as they tour the country playing music and making friends — both with their fans and each other.
Markham, who lives in Denton, Texas, and Abney, who is from Oklahoma, met six months ago when they were both performing in Fort Worth at a place called Fred’s. "We just kind of hit it off and just kept talking to each other and said, ‘Let’s go on tour!’" Markham said.
That tour stops on Sunday at Caldwell Tavern in Anniston. When the three-week tour concludes, they will have hit 10 states, including New York, Tennessee, Virginia and Missouri. "We’re having a killer time already," said Abney. "We both have a similar sense of humor, and we both like the same music."
Abney, 27, is a full-time touring musician who has been playing professionally for six years. "I went to the University of Oklahoma and graduated with a degree in anthropology, but I mostly just wanted to play music. And I did; I just went for it," he said.
Markham, who played in another band for eight years before going solo, balances his music career with a day job as a typesetter at the Denton Record-Chronicle. Taking time off to tour isn’t a problem, said the 36 year-old, who also has a four-piece band under his name. "They’re really cool about it, actually. My boss is actually in a band. I think he knew when I was applying for the job that I would probably ask to do this at some point."
When describing his sound, Markham, who favors an acoustic guitar, goes with "classic rock and roll." Abney, who also plays guitar, likens his music to the same genre, complemented with a harmonica around his neck.
Both have new full-length albums coming out this year— Markham’s third, Abney’s second. They may not bring with them the full force of a band, but their solo sets are just as fun, as both performers tend to share anecdotes about their lives and music in between songs.
Having seen them perform at a showcase in St. Louis, Mo., last month, this writer can attest that both Markham and Abney have a stage presence that puts you at ease and is worth seeing live.
"It’s gonna be rock and roll, guaranteed, regardless, but we’re happy to share our stories and how we understand the world in our songs," Abney said.
Erin Williams is a freelance writer for The Anniston Star.