Bahamas on How Edibles and Motorcycle Boots Inspired 'Bootcut'

Exclaim! Scrapbook

"You can't make serious art in Vuori and On Running. You gotta dress for the role you want to play. Bootcut. Need I say more?"

BY Kaelen BellPublished Sep 18, 2023

Afie Jurvanen can commit to a bit — a tried-and-true country album called Bootcut? Featuring a love letter to his guitar? Recorded exclusively in scuffed motorcycle boots? The man behind Bahamas is willing to lean in. Bootcut is another slyly funny, deeply felt record in the Bahamas catalogue, a trip through various barrooms and dusty high-noon main streets that finds Jurvanen folding rough-and-tumble country into his suave, organic lounge pop. 

From the shimmering groove of "I'm Still" to the gentle slide guitar of "Sports Car," Bootcut never lets Jurvanen's turn as a country crooner restrict his songwriting, and the record's influences are just as varied as its sound, from weed gummies to anodyne Airbnbs and a legendary, beat-up guitar. 

This is Bahamas' Bootcut scrapbook. 

Sound Emporium Studios

The studio we recorded in. So many classic CDs have been made there and the room just has a pleasing sound, no matter where you stand. Many of the instruments that were in the room have been there for years. I like to think Don Williams and I have touched the same congas. 

Weed Gummies

It's cool now that these are available pretty much everywhere. I like the ones that are so weak you question if you even feel anything at all. I like to mix those with heaps of black coffee. A speedball of "chill" if you will...

Motorcycle Boots

I wore motorcycle boots for the whole session. Some might say, "What's the big deal?" and to those, I'd say, "Try making a record in motorcycle boots and then come talk to me." You walk different, you sit different, you sing and play different. The whole world is too comfortable. You can't make serious art in Vuori and On Running. You gotta dress for the role you want to play. Bootcut. Need I say more? 

Rodney Crowell's Guitar

Before going down to record I had asked co-producer Dan Knobler to find me an acoustic to play. I was coming from other gigs and flying around and was lazy and didn't wanna carry a guitar around. He brought me probably the second nicest J-45 I've ever played — I own the best one already. Beat to hell and sounding beautiful and rich and dark, everything I like from an acoustic. I don't think much of my playing made it onto the final recording, but just holding it helped me sing better. He told me after that it belonged to Rodney. Thanks Rodney!

Generic Airbnb 

I prefer hotels and feel very comfortable there. Something about the anonymity appeals to me. There could have been a fat, hungover pharmaceutical rep laying naked on the bed 30 minutes before I walk into the room, but when I go in there, it's mine. It's like no one has been in there before me. Nicer hotels are generally better at accomplishing this illusion of accommodation.

In any case, Robbie [Lackritz, producer] wanted to find an apartment closer to the studio, so we stayed in a poorly lit, generic grey two-bedroom. We would walk to the studio together and talk the whole way there. We would walk home together after the sessions and talk about the day. Then we would hang out in this shitty kitchen and talk about music or kids or life or whatever till we got tired. The apartment sucked but the hangs with Robbie were so great, and I wouldn't have had that if I was in my own hotel room. Robbie is a huge part of my musical life and has been for so long. Wouldn't have it any other way. 

Mickey Raphael

I've been a huge Willie Nelson fan for a long time and Mickey has been in his band for 50 years! It's an understatement to say I was honoured that he came by to play on some tracks. My favourite part was later in the day, after we had cut all the tunes we had planned, I asked Mickey if he might wanna play some tunes just for fun. We sat and played through three or four songs, just the two of us, in that incredible studio. It sounded so good. We both agreed that it was super fun and we should do it again. I hope we do. It was one of the musical highlights of my life and nobody will ever hear it…or maybe they will…

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