The slight glimmers of hope that occasionally make an appearance on mainstream radio are a welcomed event. We have some mainstreamers such as, William Michael Morgan, Drake White, and Jon Pardi who appear to be trying to keep country on course. While I don't want to attack artists, many true country fans realize mainstream country is not country. When you are raised on 80s-90's country, you know this to be fact. It's the younger generations (even my own who are mid 20's) that didn't listen to country pre-Rascal Flatts. They only know the pop and bro-country and as a result, don't understand that it is not country and it's hurting the genre. The fantastic harmonies that I remember hearing have been lost in the rap-filled muck as of the last ten years. But, with a talented trio named Runaway June, we have something to be excited about.
Having been a supporter of Texas Country and independent artists for about 6 years, I was well aware of Granger Smith. I drove a campus shuttle bus in college and would have many Texas Country acts cranking. Before Granger Smith was well known beyond Texas, I was playing him up here years prior. His comments referring to Texas as the "minor-leagues" a couple years ago, ticked me off and his music definitely feels more commercial now, but I do think he's a good dude. He treats his fans well and does promote other Texas acts at times, so I decided to attend his show. The highlight of the concert was not Granger Smith for me though, it was Runaway June.
I remember looking at the three attractive women on the stage thinking, "here we go, another wanna-be country act." Seriously, I had the lowest expectations because on mainstream country, many women don't have the country style that is deserving to be played. There are incredible female artists in Texas such as Kaitlin Butts, Jackie Darlene, Bri Bagwell, Kensie Coppin, Nikki Lane, and Erica Perry etc that are regional acts currently. These women and many more are what I want to hear on the radio. When Runaway June started singing however, I was startled at what I heard.
Consisting of Naomi Cooke, Hannah Mulholland, and Jennifer Wayne, these ladies have harmonies that are some of the best I have ever heard. Hands down, the best harmonies I have ever heard live in any concert. I was floored to hear them sing and play so beautifully together. They played their song "Lipstick," which despite being a break-up song, it is upbeat and tries to focus on the positive aspects of a relationship. Crying ruins makeup , but it's the loving in a relationship that can mess-up her lipstick. I enjoyed that mentality because it's positive and an approach that is not typically heard. There are so many breakup songs out there, such as Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" that all have similar sounds. This was a nice break from the Nashville cookie-cutter mold.
They also played the first tune that they had ever written together, "Forget Her" which was another song that affirmed my belief in their talent. Check out the video below to hear some background on the song and experience their harmonies.
They played some hits by Miranda Lambert and some other quality songs which escape me now. Go easy on me, it's been over six months since the show haha. I just recall standing there, impressed at how perfectly harmonized they were and the fact they did it while each playing a guitar or mandolin. As I said, the highlight of the night was these ladies.
I, like many others, continue to look forward to their debut album which hopefully gets released soon. They mentioned that the album will not necessarily be in the same pop-style as "Lipstick" and will be more of the wild west sound. If that is the case, I think we are all in a treat and they will continue to meet success.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
Check out my spotify for good tunes!