“He’s the kind of guy that walks into a place and everyone already knows him or loves him,” said Markham (left) of John Calvin Abner (right), who requires surgery to repair a torn vocal cord. Courtesy Daniel Markham

In America, we have some strange priorities. The fact that half (or more) of society has been successfully conditioned to willingly rank corporate profit over the welfare of our fellow citizens is an oligarchical brainwash that not even Marx would have believed possible. Due to the disproportionate expense and lack of social safety nets, the majority of people living in this country are one medical emergency away from financial disaster. This is doubly true for self-employed musicians, for whom insurance likely isn’t an option. Thankfully, where government fails, community often moves in to fill the gaps. In the music community, the movement is always bigger for some reason. Benefit shows have been a way for the scene to rally around one another for decades.

On Sunday at Lola’s, some of the area’s best singer-songwriters are answering the call to help one of their own. Son of Stan, Mallorie Morgan, Sam Anderson (Quaker City Night Hawks), Jacob Furr, Hannah Owens, Daniel Markham, and more will gather in support of John Calvin Abney. A fellow singer-songwriter, producer, session player, and side man, Abney requires surgery on a tear in his vocal cords. He’s been unable to sing since December, a particular challenge given his profession. The funds raised at the show will help him with medical bills and expenses while he recovers.

Abney, a normally private person, said he feels a little awkward that so much attention is being paid to him, but he appreciates the gesture.


“As someone who has tended toward handling things on his own most of his life, this has been a moment of joy and softness to know a group of people cares about you enough to make sure you can afford a surgery or just check up on you in general,” he said.

Though he calls Tulsa home, Abney has more ties to the Fort Worth music scene than many local musicians. The benefit’s roster consists of just a handful of the many local artists he has worked with or alongside.

Abney, Dallas singer-songwriter Daniel Markham said, is “without a doubt one of the most talented musicians I know. We’ve done two tours together, and they were both a really great time. He’s the kind of guy that walks into a place and everyone already knows him or loves him. A great energy to be around, for sure”

Sunday’s event was coordinated by Jessi England, who was inspired to offer help after working with Abney on her upcoming debut album.

“He’s a writer’s writer,” she said, “He’s an insanely talented multi-instrumentalist and undeniably charming. It felt like Christmas morning when John agreed to come play on my record.”

When learning of his situation, England said it was an easy call to put something together for him.

“I think it’s only natural when you spend as much time together as we musicians and artists do in this scene that there is a sense of responsibility to one another that develops,” she said. “Out of camaraderie, respect, love — of sharing gigs and stages and rounds of shots — but also very much out of well-being and necessity, we gotta take care of each other.”

The music begins at 4pm with Fort Worth singer-songwriters Simone Nicole and Levi Ray.