Band of the Day

2012.03.25

Bahamas

A touring band member for Feist steps out to center stage
Sunset sings the sweetest tune, just the song he wrote for his true love in bloom.
lyrics from Sunshine Blues

Bahamas is the stage name for Afie Jurvanen (b. April 28, 1981), a Finnish-Canadian musician originally from the town of Barrie in Ontario, Canada. A self-taught guitarist, singer, and songwriter, Jurvanen spent years honing is craft by playing with Feist, Howie Beck, Jason Collett, and Zeus. Deciding to step out as a solo artist, Jurvanen took on the moniker Bahamas and spent some time recording his debut album, Pink Strat, in a rural Canadian cabin in 2008. The album was released in 2009, and was nominated for a Juno Award the following year. To support the album's release, Jurvanen toured with Wilco before embarking on his own headlining tour. Renowned for his stripped-down, folk-inspired sounds, Jurvanen also landed support slots for Elvis Costello and Calexico. In February 2012, Jurvanen released his sophomore album, Barchords, through Jack Johnson's label, Brushfire Records.

There are some mornings when you barely have time to grab a bagel before rushing out the door to get to your destination without being late. Then the weekend comes along, when you can linger over a fresh pot of coffee and a stack of homemade pancakes. It's the same thing with music—sometimes you need those frantic bands to power you through a workout, and other times you just need music to relax to. Bahamas, the solo project of Canadian musician Afie Jurvanen, makes music that fits into the latter category. After playing as a guitarist for the likes of Feist, Howie Beck, and Jason Collett, Jurvanen first stepped out as a solo artist with his 2009 debut album, Pink Strat. Named after his old Fender Stratocaster, the album was recorded in a cabin in rural Canada—a befitting locale for stripped-down, mellow songs like “Sunshine Blues” and “You're Bored, I'm Old.” Following the success of Pink Strat, which led to a Juno Award nomination and opening slots for legendary artists like Wilco and Elvis Costello, Bahamas is back with 2012's Barchords. Ontario couldn't be further from the Bahamas, but Jurvanen manages to capture the island's essence with “Caught Me Thinkin.” His breezy vocals and plucky guitar riff create a slight surf rock feel, but not the type of rowdy surf rock that you normally hear blasting over footage of pro surfers conquering gigantic waves. Instead, it's more fit for the days when the closest thing to a wave is nothing more than a gentle ripple in the water, and all you can do is paddle leisurely at sunset. “Time And Time Again” also has that hanging-out-in-paradise feel, as if Jurvanen just woke up (his voice even has that sultry, morning croak quality to it), picked up his acoustic guitar, and began serenading his beloved. Starting out with a sparse guitar riff and just the slightest touch of cymbals is “Overjoyed.” Like that moment in a darkroom when a photo begins to magically emerge on the paper, the song slowly develops into a stunning piece of music. Jurvanen already proved that he's a true master of his craft on the sidelines, but as a solo artist his music makes him a star player.