Review: Another Example of Bahamas’ Sweet Sound

Brushfire Records
3.5 Out Of Five Stars

Videos by American Songwriter

Bahamas, the nom de plume for Canadian singer/songwriter Afie Jurvanen, has acquired a formidable reputation over the course of his 17-year career. With a sound that leans towards contemporary folk, he’s gained a devoted following and a series of critical kudos earned early on.

His first album, Pink Strat, garnered a Juno Award nomination for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year in 2010, and the following year, his sophomore set, Barchords, managed to maintain the momentum courtesy of a nomination for Adult Alternative Album of the Year as well as Songwriter of the Year. His third album, Bahamas Is Afie, followed suit by landing a top spot on a list of Album of the Year honors, as well as the perquisite nominations for the Juno Adult Alternative Album of the Year and Songwriter of the Year in 2015. 

He finally took home that coveted trophy, Canada’s equivalent of the Grammy, for Adult Alternative Album of the Year, courtesy of his last studio album, Sad Hunk, in 2021.

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Whether or not Jurvanen repeats that feat with his new album, Bootcut, remains to be seen, but if the judges are swayed by unvarnished emotion and tender trappings, then it certainly has a good shot. It’s an album birthed in the quiet confines of home and hearth, a series of songs that offer consistent comfort and a decidedly down-home sentiment. That’s immediately obvious with the initial track, “Girls Bugging Me,” which captures him performing a sweet serenade for his daughter, who then proceeds to abruptly interrupt. Nevertheless, the songs that follow—“Just a Song” and “Working On My Guitar” in particular—still manage to maintain that unassuming attitude, just as the titles of those tracks suggest. 

The easy sway of Bahamas’ breezy ballads occasionally brings comparison to the late Don Williams, particularly on songs like “Somebody Just Like Me,” “Second Time Around” and “Into the Unknown,” where the combination of steel guitar and a sense of serenity allow for a calming caress. “Gone Girl Gone” and “I’m Still” take on a more soulful sway, a sound all the more likely to seduce those within earshot. So too, the tender tapestry of “Nothing Blows My Mind” and “Sports Car” revel in pure emotion and quiet contemplation.

Ultimately, Bootcut comes across as an ideal respite from today’s otherwise hectic encounters, all soothing melodies that share both reflection and resolve. Clearly, Bahamas deserves credit for providing an ideal getaway.

Photo Credit: Dave Gillespie / Courtesy All Eyes Media

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