Above anything, Afie Jurvanen is a guitar player. The Toronto-based songwriter gathered steam as Feist’s touring guitarist. But to those who know him as Bahamas, Jurvanen’s known for his to-the-point songs on his last album Pink Strat—a nod to a guitar Jurvanen played.
The songwriter will release Barchords on Feb. 7 on Brushfire Records. The title, as you might guess, has a double meaning for the songwriter, who wanted his second album to also have a guitar-based title.
“I spent a lot of years playing guitar in other peoples’ bands,” Jurvanen told Paste. “I think barre chords are the simplest thing, and in my songwriting I try to go after the simplest thing. I played in other bands in big venues, so when I set out to play my own music again, we played in bars, driving my own car to the gigs. I wrote a lot of those songs on tour for my first record and it really was a return to my own songs and music and my own voice.”
The beautifully produced Barchords was recorded in Jurvanen’s own space and features immediate, guitar-driven tracks that showcase the songwriter’s no-bull songwriting. One of the album’s standout tracks titled “Lost in the Light” is Jurvanen’s personal favorite. But it almost didn’t make the album to begin with.
“It was a late edition and I finished what I thought was the record, and then I wrote the song and initially I thought, ‘OK, this could be a song for the next record,’” Jurvanen said. “[When the song was finished], not only did I want it to be a part of it, I wanted it to be the first track of the record to set the tone for the whole thing.”
Jurvanen’s studio band was a lean one on purpose. Comprised of himself, Jason Tait on drums, Darcy Yates on bass and Carleigh Aikins and Felicity Williams on backup vocals, the songwriter embraced limitations instead of fighting them to create the no-frills, pretty tracks that make up the album.