Afie Jurvanen, a.k.a. Bahamas, is a Canadian singer-songwriter who has specialized in songs that feel as comfortable and familiar as a favorite pair of jeans. Over the past 14-years, Bahamas released five albums with a repertoire of songs that feel comfortable, whether they are Folksy ballads, Yacht-Rock jams or foot-stompin’ Blues, reminding the listeners of decades of hearing Oldies radio.
Recorded at Nashville’s Sound Emporium by Grammy-nominated producer Robbie Lackritz (Feist, Jack Johnson, Alvvays, Peach Pit) and Dan Knobler (Allison Russell, Rodney Crowell), Bootcut has Jurvanen surrounded by a stellar team of musicians including guitarist Vince Gill, pedal-steel maestro Russ Pahl (Kenny Rogers, Sturgill Simpson), bassist Dave Roe, harmonica great Mickey Rafael (Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow), mandolin master Sam Bush (Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt), keyboardist Jen Gunderman (Willie Nelson, The Jayhawks), and drummer Jon Radford (Brendan Benson, Nikki Lane).
The idea to record in Nashville dates back to 2019, when Jurvanen sat in on a couple of songwriting sessions with local musicians, providing him with insight into how the behind-the-scenes Nashville hit factory operates. The time spent in Music City set him on the path to writing “Half Your Love,” a low-key tune from the 2020 release of Sad Hunk, which earned Jurvanen’s third Juno Award. After spending the pandemic gathering a group of renowned session players for Live to Tape virtual supergroup jams on Zoom, he knew he wanted the collaborative, free-spirited energy once COVID restrictions were lifted.
“I love being the weakest link in the room, in terms of being a musician,” Jurvanen says, only half-jokingly. “I mean, I feel quite confident in what I’m able to do in any sort of musical situation, but at the same time, I never want to be the Michael Jordan in the room. I might be Steve Kerr. It’s just nice to have other players in the room who are just so obviously heavy and that’s what they do.”
Bootcut is less an exercise in rhinestone cowboy, than an attempt to tap into Country music’s capacity for emotionally direct, open hearted storytelling. “I just love the way that you can explore ideas in a real, literal way,” he enthuses. Bootcut is a state of mind, with the confidence to be casual and the zen state of being on trend and timeless at the same time. It is the cumulative wisdom that makes a personal statement feel like universal truths. Truths being shared by Lightning 100, The SoCal Sound, KRVB, WAPS, WMMM and KMTN to name just a few.
Photo by Dave Gillespie