Finnish-Canadian singer/songwriter Alfie Jurvanen coasts along a lackadaisical wave that always seems to gently toss him to success. He's toured fairly extensively as a sideman with artists like Howie Beck, Jason Collett, and Zeus. Most recently, he toured as the guitarist/keyboardist for Feist and returned home to Barrie, Ontario to find that all his old cronies had moved on musically. He ended up recording his own stuff simply because he had recording equipment at his disposal and, just from sheer happenstance, it morphed into an album. He adopted the name Bahamas
and was ready to start out on his own.
His debut album Pink Strat
released in 2009 in Canada after basically one day of recording in an old cabin without rehearsal (as he described it, "just performances, with all the nervous energy of the performances intact"). The result of this process is a simple, spontaneous album. It is said that silence makes sound, and by excluding all the bells and whistles that are too frequently thrown in to overproduced music, a space is left in his music that makes the sound that much more profound. With the breezy Americana feel of M. Ward speckled slightly with balmy-weathered accents of Jack Johnson, Bahamas croons track after track of love and what we do with it.
The blitheness of his music often overshadows the lyrical apathy that's headed towards gloom. But both exist so plainly that you don't really notice the happy melancholia you begin to drown in. For Jurvanen, "making music is the same as most other things in life. You can take the long way, but more often than not the most direct way is the most impactful. You could make a salad with avacado and fennel and all kinds of amazing stuff, but sometimes all you want is iceburg lettuce."
It appears a lot of people just want iceburg lettuce. Pink Strat
was nominated for the Polaris Prize for "Best Canadian Album Of The Year" and a Juno Award for "Roots/Traditional Album Of The Year". He has since caught the attention of and opened for Calexico, Wilco, and Elvis Costello. After releasing his album this past April in the US, he opened for Noah and the Whale on their North American Tour. He's planning on releasing a sophomore album this January, but if you can't wait until then, head over to Daytrotter and download his session
there for free.