"This is weird."
Afie Jurvanen (aka Bahamas) would repeat the first three words he spoke to the three dozen or so audience members lining the walls of CBC Studio 211 several more times throughout Tuesday night's live-to-tape recording of the first semi-public performance of the songs from his new album.
The ultra-intimate setting is indeed a strange way to experience a band's new music for the first time, but CBC's First Play Live series is definitely a unique experience if you manage to get an invite to one of the sessions. The recordings are eventually posted to YouTube (see below), but there doesn't appear to be any easy way to access all of the episodes, other than poking around their channel, or digging through their music blog.
Jurvanen later explained to the crowd that what they were experiencing was closer to what bands hear onstage, or in some ways closer to sitting in on a rehearsal. This sneak preview of the upcoming Bahamas Is Afie album was even more like the latter than normal, as Jurvanen only had the afternoon prior to rehearse with longtime drummer Jason Tait, who now lives in Winnipeg.
New addition to the live band Christine Bougie fills out the delicate melodic interplay of the recordings perfectly on lap steel and guitar, although it turns out she's doesn't actually appear on the recorded versions, which see Jurvanen exploring more acoustic textures and elements of psychedelic country soul. Reducing the number of backup vocalists to one for the live show made some of the more gospel-influenced moments less powerful, but the album is in many ways more lush than the previous two records.
Bahamas Is Afie comes out August 18, but you can get your own early preview of some of the songs in the background of this promo video, featuring Jurvanen playing the tunes for the first time for his best friend Russ, as they stock up Russ's restaurant Aunties and Uncles.