This week, Afie Jurvanen (who goes by the stage name Bahamas)–a great singer-songwriter from Nova Scotia, Canada visits us at eTown. Joining him, from Los Angeles by way of Marfa, Texas, comes Jess Williamson–a wonderful country-flavored singer-songwriter. Also, Nick sits down with Rod Moraga to discuss the complexities of wildfires and home protection in an evolving environment affected by climate change.
Bahamas is the moniker for singer/songwriter/guitar virtuoso Afie Jurvanen. Afie isn’t from the Bahamas. He’s a Finnish-Canadian from Barrie–a working class town in rural Ontario. But his chosen epithet is fitting. Since 2009 he’s been making music under the name Bahamas–writing songs about sunsets, love affairs, and making out with crooked smiles. Through simple arrangements, he charts an escape route from the snow belt to the coral reefs.
Jurvanen, along with Christine Bougie (guitar), Don Kerr (drums), Mike O’Brien (bass), Felicity Williams (vocals), and longtime producer, multi-Grammy nominee Robbie Lackritz (Feist, Jack Johnson, Robbie Robertson) have elevated Bahamas music to the next plateau.
Bahamas has achieved success here and overseas through their exceptional live shows that inspire and entertain. Their streaming numbers range around three million per month consistently on Spotify and continue to grow. Bahamas biggest streaming track “Lost In The Light” has racked up almost 100 million plays, while “All The Time”, the lead single from third album Bahamas Is Afie, recently passed 70m. 2018’s Earthtones won Adult Alternative Album Of The Year at the 2019 Juno Awards, and received a Grammy nomination. In 2015, Songwriter Of The Year by the Junos.
A daringly personal but inevitable evolution for the Texas-born, Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Time Ain’t Accidental is evocative of iconic Western landscapes, tear-in-beer anthems, and a wholly modern take on country music that is completely her own. Above everything, sonically and thematically, this album is about Williamson’s voice, crystalline and acrobatic in its range, standing front and center. Think Linda Rondstadt turned minimalist, The Chicks gone indie or even Emmylou Harris’ work with Daniel Lanois. Ringing boldly and unobscured, it’s the sound of a woman running into her life and art head-on, unambiguously, and on her own terms for the first time.
Williamson splits her time between Marfa, Texas and Los Angeles. Time Ain’t Accidental, with its synthesis of traditional country instrumentation with digital effects and modern sounds, unequivocally embodies the energy of the two very different places that she calls home. The album’s artwork, subtly menacing and neon in awareness and strength, displays, in Williamson’s words, “that supernatural forces are acting all around us, that we can trust that we will be in the right place at the right time.”
While Time Ain’t Accidental is remarkable for its bare confidence born of searching and longing for something real, Williamson also recognizes the mysterious whims of time that bricked her path (and she memorialized them on the title track). Ultimately, these unseen forces lured the singer back into her own. The timing was, indeed, no accident.