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Bahamas on Mountain Stage

Bahamas performs on <em>Mountain Stage</em>.
Brian Blauser
Mountain Stage
Bahamas performs on Mountain Stage.

As Bahamas, the Canadian singer-songwriter Afie Jurvanen has been making waves south since 2009, tucking wry ruminations into sunny blue-eyed soul. The self-taught, Toronto-born guitarist has opened for such acts as Robert Plant, Wilco, Jack Johnson and The Lumineers, as well as fellow Canadians City and Colour.

Armed with his fifth album Sad Hunk, Bahamas, who made his first trip to Mountain Stage in 2013, returned in October. Introduced by host Kathy Mattea as an artist blending "folk, crooning soul and global groove," Bahamas shared his latest songs from Sad Hunk. Named after an inside joke between him and his wife following "a moody photo session," the album won the 2021 Juno Award for Adult Alternative Album of the Year.

The son of Finnish immigrants and raised by a single mother, Bahamas' melodic soul comes with a dash of grown-up life lessons, like "Up With The Jones," about living above your means.

"I'm going to do a song now about debt. I don't know if you guys know this, but it's a real problem," Bahamas said, getting a roar of audience laughter. "I didn't hear too many songs on the radio that were addressing this important issue. Unfortunately, commercial radio didn't feel the same way I did. Maybe there's something to take away from it."

Bahamas' Jim Gaffigan-esque banter alone was worth the price of admission, and he wound his way through tunes from Sad Hunk, offering sweet and slightly snarky tips on navigating marriage, songwriting, depression, drinking too much and chilling out.

Not ready to go alone or too gently into the night, Bahamas brought out the Mountain Stage Band for a spirited four-song rock run to end the set.

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Dave Lavender