One of my fondest memories at SxSW 2012 was watching Bahamas at Antones at noon on Wednesday with a crowd of about 40 people. I attended with Woody, who was not yet a Bahamas fan. As Bahamas founder and lead singer, Afie Jurvanen, demonstrated his impeccable guitar skills on his electric Strat, Woody began to light up. As if sensing that Woody was converting, Afie seemed to stare directly at him as he crooned into the microphone. Woody leaned over slowly and whispered “He’s singing straight into my soul right now.”
We had a quick laugh and then were entranced with an incredible half-hour set by Bahamas. The tone of Afie’s guitar was overshadowed by the tone of his silky smooth vocals which are accented by his band of angelic backup singers and gentle percussion from Jason Tait, who previously played with the Weakerthans, Broken Social Scene and the FemBots. It was after that set that we met Afie and tentatively booked a session for a TBD date in the future in Chicago.
The session is pure magic. All the musicians in one room and only one microphone. This is what live sessions are about – simplicity and unbridled talent at the epicenter. The songs represent a mix of both Bahamas albums, Pink Strat and Barchords, released by Jack Johnson’s label Brushfire Records. And you’ll get a bit of that beach vibe when listening to Bahamas, but Afie’s Canadian roots somehow make his albums all-season affairs, suitable for both summer barbecues and winter nights by the fire. Take a dip into the session and check out those albums. If Bahamas doesn’t break like the Lumineers at some point soon, I’ll be shocked.