Shapeshifting With Bahamas

The following article was written for Monday Magazine and will appear in next week’s issue.

“Bahamas” is a most fitting moniker for Afie Jurvanen’s solo project.  Even in the heat and fury of South By Southwest where Bahamas played a multitude of shows over a span of just a few days with stage times ranging from 7:00 AM (!) to well after midnight, Jurvanen was completely composed and relaxed as we discussed his most recent offering, “Barchords” and the resulting tour that will bring him to Victoria on March 25th.

“On this tour, I’m trying to put as little as possible between the audience and my songs.” Jurvanen says, “We are touring with a smaller band than I had on the album– just me, a drummer (Jason Tait, from The Weakerthans) and a couple of back up vocalists (Carleigh Aikins and Felicity Williams).  The stripped down form of this band is really malleable.  We respond to the atmosphere of the venue, be it an old Church or a Conference Room… I’m able to extend certain portions of songs and contract others.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Jurvanen continues, “ anyone who has listened to Barchords will be able to recognize songs in their live skin… it’s not gonna be like a Bob Dylan show where the songs are completely unrecognizable until the chorus (laughs), but the songs will inevitably take on a different shape in a live setting.”

Barchords, the follow-up to 2009’s Polaris-nominated Pink Strat, marks an evolution in Jurvanen’s craft.  A spare, though densely subtle meditation on Love in both the splendor of its waxing and the resulting agony of its waning, Barchords is a testament to Jurvanen’s newfound approach to recording.

“Pink Strat came to be almost accidentally– it is essentially just a bunch of songs that I recorded with some friends which were later released as an album.  Barchords is more intentional– much more focused.  I could think bigger making this album; I thought more in terms of an entire narrative arc… it was less piecemeal.  I was able to develop themes better as my vision was larger.”

Bahamas’ enlarged vision, combined with his proven ability to custom fit songs to any live setting, make for a powerful combination.  While fans can expect to hear Barchords in its entirety, it will be interesting to hear how these songs choose to reveal themselves within the brick-wall confines of Lucky Bar on Sunday night.

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