If Your Destination is Catchy, Quirky, and Smart – Try Bahamas

From Joni Mitchell to Justin Bieber, Canada has exported some pretty notable musicians. To this list – though not nearly as famously – we’d add Afie Jurvanen, otherwise known as Bahamas.

The native Ontarian taught himself guitar, developing a clean, open style that suits his songwriting, which similarly allows room for his lyrics to breathe.

His debut album, Pink Strat, emerged from a rustic Ontario cabin in 2008. He established his style right away: thoughtful, concise lyrics embedded in unconventional-but-accessible melodies. He also recruited talented musicians to join him, filling out the sound admirably.

Befitting a good Canadian, one of his first breakthrough singles was, naturally, “Hockey Teeth,” featuring the aforementioned pink Strat.

And speaking of collaborators, Jurvanen has racked up quite a few, including The Lumineers, City and Colour, Feist, Jack Johnson, and Dawes.

2012 brought his second album, Barchords. As with Pink Strat, this earned a Juno nomination (the Canadian Grammys). The tunes – like “Be My Witness,” “Caught Me Thinking,” and “Lost in the Light” — are more fully realized, while retaining the essential space and vibe.

Over the last ten or so years, Bahamas has kept up a steady output, with albums like Bahamas Is Afie (2014); Earthtones (2018): Sad Hunk (2020); and Bootcut (2023). Along the way, his style has broadened to include funk and country flavorings, adding new dimensions to the sound.

Bahamas’ live band, including drummer Jason Tait and backing vocalist Felicity Williams, has shared stages with the likes of Jack Johnson, Robert Plant, and Wilco. It’s a fun band to watch…

So if you’re looking for some relatively new artists who sit comfortably alongside the music we all know so well, do spend some time visiting Bahamas.

-Al Cattabiani

Photo: kall_e from Ottawa, Canada, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Other Posts You Might Like

2 comments on “If Your Destination is Catchy, Quirky, and Smart – Try Bahamas

  1. Steve Schumacher

    Thanks for the recommendation! Upon first listen to Hockey Teeth, it reminded me of the band Huffamoose. I’m looking forward to digging deeper into Bahamas.

Leave a Reply (and please be kind!)