Bahamas - Own Alone (Brushfire Records): In a quiet and organic way, Toronto singer/songwriter/guitarist Afie Jurvanen (aka Bahamas) has been writing one of the biggest success stories in Canadian music.
His mellow stylings have resonated amongst both peers and a fast-growing international fan base, and they’ll be pleased to hear the news that a new (fifth) album, Sad Hunk, is set for release on Oct. 9.
This is the followup to 2018 full-length Earthtones, a Grammy-nominated record that earned him the Adult Alternative Album Of The Year award at the 2019 Junos (a previous release, Bahamas Is Afie, helped him win the Songwriter Of The Year Juno and it also won for Adult Alternative Album Of The Year).
Own Alone, the first advance cut from Sad Hunk, is an appealingly frisky tune rather at odds with the title and lines like "cold and broke and lonely me." It doesn't sound melancholy at all, and the tempo of the tune actually suggests the narrator may be enjoying that status. A crisp and fluent guitar break elevates the song mid-tune, and the production has the clarity typical of Bahamas releases.
Assisting Bahamas on the album is an A-list cast of Toronto players and past collaborators, including Christine Bougie (guitar), Don Kerr (drums), Mike O’Brien (bass), and Felicity Williams (vocals), with recording by longtime producer and multi-Grammy nominee Robbie Lackritz (Feist, Jack Johnson, Robbie Robertson). It also features the guitar work of Sam Weber, a musician whom Jurvanen discovered on YouTube.
Explaining the album title in a press release, Jurvanen recalls that “Something like ten years ago, I did a photo shoot, and in all the pictures they sent back, I was lit half in shadow, looking all brooding and mysterious. When my wife saw the photos, the first thing she said was, 'Whoa, sad hunk,' and after that, it became sort of a joke among our friends.”
“I definitely use music to work things out for myself,” he adds. “It’s possible I’m too open sometimes, but I really don’t know any better way to be. If I tried to just go write fun songs about hot dogs or something, I’d probably fail.”
The numbers around Bahamas' material shows that failure has not been an option. He currently averages over 2.5M regular monthly listens on Spotify with more than 450M streams to date. Lost In The Light, from 2012’s Barchords, is nearing 100M streams, while All The Time, the lead single from Bahamas Is Afie, recently passed 70M streams.
Peers publicly expressing a love of his work range from Taylor Swift to BTS, Jack Johnson, Robbie Robertson, and Wilco to kd lang.
Publicity: Stephen McGrath, Nightshop Media
Management: Robbie Lackritz
Agent: Rob Zifarelli
Radio Promo: David Tysowski, canvas media
Quebec & French language Promo: Simon Fauteux, Six Media